Sunday, 29 June 2014


It's that time of year again - the Church Fete. This year Mum and I baked about 2/3 of the cake stall. And we baked less than normal.

32 cookies, 4 raspberry and white chocolate cakes, 6 lemon drizzle cakes, 9 fruit cakes, 2 batches of chocolate brownies, 7 chocolate sponges, 6 coffee sponges, 6 coffee and walnut sponges, over 100 scones.

And then it rained, and rained and rained.

The fete was moved inside the church with doors balanced on pews for the tables.

We made just under £300 - down on previous years, but still enjoyed ourselves. Normally this is my only baking of the year, but my husband has made comments that he would like to see more evidence of my baking the other 51 weeks of the year... I'm looking for a really good chocolate loaf recipe - rich and chocolately, which requires no icing! If you know one, please let me know!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

WIP Thursday...[hand sewing]

It's been ages since I actually missed posting for WIP Wednesday... the post was half written but never got finished.

Mia and I are spending a week with my parents and because my daughter does NOT travel light, my sewing machine did not make the trip. So last week I prepared some of the blocks from Dear Jane which need hand sewing. And whilst I was preparing I also stitched one together on the machine which had been hanging around for a while.

So far I've been doing applique.

And of course because I don't have my machine here with me, I keep finding projects I want to make. Now. I've been sketching out some plans and I'm going to spend next week playing with fabrics - I predict at least four new starts! But in my defence I have finished a lot recently.

Mia was four months old on Tuesday! I can't believe how much she has changed. She also learned to roll this week - she's mobile!

And I've signed up for a swap - I know I said I wouldn't because of Mia, but I just could resist the Big Stitch Swap hosted by Sarah and Cindy.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Two More Finishes

These have to be the quickest Baby Blankets I have ever made! My sister-in-law asked for two quilts to give as christening gifts this coming weekend. She picked the colour scheme and I picked the pattern - you can read a little more about them in yesterday's WIP Wednesday post.

I free motion appliqued the petals in place - I have to admit to being really chuffed at being able to do this. I bound them in a print from Pam Kitty Picnic and added loops to the back for the rings you attach toys to buggies with - this way the blankets will stay on the buggies and not end up under the wheels.

The finished quilts are 21" x 24" and I love them so much I may have to make one for Mia too. The hardest part of the quilt is the patience required to trace the petal shapes onto fusible, fuse the fusible to fabric, cut out the shapes and then fight the backing paper.

I'm hoping to spend an hour at the weekend at a little patchwork shop I know restocking my turquoise stash - it's taken a bit of a hammering so far this year! I imagine other colours may find their way home with me too...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Baby Flowers [WIP Wednesday]

I have had a very productive week! Four finishes!

Aunty Iris's quilt...

Aunty May's quilt...

A camper van cushion..

...and Mia's Buggy Blanket

My Sister-in-law saw Mia's buggy blanket and asked if I could make another two for her to give as christening present - for next weekend. We had a discussion about how long it takes to hand piece hexies... and we settled on buggy blanket versions of the quilt I made for Aunty May. This is one of the quilts and the other is the same.

The fabrics are all from my stash and my mother-in-law's and include Art Gallery, Pam Kitty Picnic, Pearl Bracelet, Flea Market Fancy, Basic Grey and many others. We've backed the basic piecing with flannel from Quilting Treasures and I've quilted a cross hatch. The petals are then attached with iron on stickiness and the next step is to free motion applique round the edges, then trim the quilts and bind them!

That's my WIP for this week. Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Great Aunts [a blue finish]

So yesterday I shared the purple quilt. Today I'm sharing the Blue Quilt - I'm calling it Floating Flowers

Once I'd decided to make a quilt for one great aunt, I needed to make one for the other great aunt as well. Unfortunately this realisation came a little late in the day, so I also needed a quick finish. I picked up on an idea I first played with when I made my Baby Paws quilt last year. I just sized it up and swapped paw prints for flowers.

I needed help with this one - my stash just didn't have the blue fabrics I needed, so I called on Linda and raided her stash. I cut 80 6.5" squares from 40 different prints - I picked 6.5" squares because I have a ruler that size and it made it easier! It didn't take long to piece these squares together fairly randomly, though trying to keep the lighter and darker squares balanced.

I decided to copy the Bear Paws quilt with cross hatch quilting, but I hadn't intended to do it this densely. Turn out my quilt guides weren't long enough to do just one line per squares, so I doubled it up. I'm not 100% happy with the quilting. I experienced puckers again, and I'm putting it down to the basting. Luckily the front is ok (just one bad but, hidden by a flower), and the back will just have to do. The quilting was done in 40w Aurifil in variegated blue.

Once the quilting was done I prepped the applique using iron-on sticky stuff, then free motion appliqued the petals in place with a couple of rows of stitching. This was the part I was worried about - I wasn't sure I could pull it off. But I'm dead pleased with how it turned out.

Especially how it looks on the back. I used baby pink for the top thread and stuck with the same variegated blue in the bobbin thread.

The binding is made from the trimmings of the backing - I had just enough! The finished quilt is 60" x 48" before washing.
p.s. I'm not done with this idea yet - watch this space!

Monday, 16 June 2014

The Great Aunts [a purple finish]

Over the last few weeks I have been working on quilts for two of my Great Aunts - I posted about it in quite a bit of detail here. A purple quilt and a blue quilt. Both are now finished. I'll post about the blue one a bit later on, but for now may I present The Purple One.

I can't  think of a better name.

This quilt started life in March 2012 when we celebrated my Mum's significant birthday with a big family party. I cornered my Great Aunt and asked her what her favourite colour was. Purple and pink. Bugger. My purple stash at the time numbered about three fat quarters. Roll on to October 2012 when I was Queen Bee for Stash Bee and I decided to ask my Bee Mates to help me out. I posted this tutorial and asked for four 7.5" blocks from each. My Bee Mates did me proud and I got loads of blocks back.

The problem was that all of the blocks needed trimming - it was my own fault - it was what I'd asked for. But the task didn't appeal, so the blocks sat there for a while. Funnily enough it was Mia's birth that kicked me into action. I don't get to see my Great Aunt often, but I knew with a new baby, there was no way I wouldn't be catching up with her when I visit home at the end of June, so that was an ideal time to give her the quilt.

Many hours of trimming, some crawling on the floor to get the layout right, lots of long seams, piecing a backing fabric, basting.... it could be a list of the tasks I like least when quilting. But all necessary steps...

With the quilting, I knew what I wanted to do. Because of the scrappy nature of the quilt, I felt I had lost the pattern created by joining the blocks, so I wanted to reinforce this. I quilted in all of the "squares" created between the trellis lines. Originally I had planned something more detailed. But that didn't happen. I outlined each square and then quilted a square spiral. It's not my best quilting ever, but it has the desired result.

The quilt is backed with a cotton poplin in dark purple and I used the trimmings from the backing to make the binding. The quilting and the binding is all done using 40w Aurifil 2545 dark purple. The finished quilt is 62" x 55" before washing.

Finishing this quilt was a goal for the Q2 Finish Along! You can find my list of goals here.

Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Hexy Buggy Blanket [a finish]

About 2 months ago I walked into one of our local quilting shops and saw Petit Street from Dashwood Studios. I knew I had to make something for Mia with these fabrics. I bought a fat quarter of six of the seven prints in the range (the seventh was quite a large scale house print). When Mia was born it was February - winter. We didn't even think of summer, so the only blankets we have for the buggy or the car seat are quite heavy. Too heavy. And so big that we have to fold them, making them even warmer. So she needs something lighter for those balmy summer nights....

I decided on large 1.5" hexies and spent a while basting as many as I could get from the fat quarters. I stitched them together until, holding them against the buggy, it looked about right. I then removed all the papers - something I find quite satisfying and basted it to some flannel.

I decided to go without batting. I've then taken one of the diagonal straight lines created by the hexies and quilted 1/8" each side of each seam running in that direction, going across the middle of alternate hexies.

It's bound in a bit more of the pink dotty fabric and I've added a couple of loops on the back for those hoopy things you get for baby toys to attach them to the buggy so they don't fall off.

One finished blankey modelled by Mia. And blankey matches the buggy!!!

The finished quilt is just 24"x 20". I used Aurifil 50w 4654, a variegated turquoise for all the piecing and the quilting and used a splash of 50w 2605 pink variegated to top stitch the binding in place. I have just one problem. I have a lot of hexies left over.

 So I'm going to make another quilt - obviously. Well the first one will no doubt have to go through the wash occasionally, so watch this space!

As it's the weekend and I finished this yesterday, I'm linking up with Sewjo Saturday!

And this is another finish for the Finish Along this quarter! You can find my original list here.

Finish Along 2014

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Camping Cushion

I've been finishing things today! First up to show you is a cushion.

This is for friends of ours who last summer gave us a car boot load of plants to fill out our newly de-jungled garden. In my early pregnancy, I wasn't able to thank them with anything hand made, but now a year later I've finally got to make them this cushion.

They've just bought a new motor home, so this Tula Pink pattern seemed perfect! Plus I know they love orange!

The fabrics are Pearl Bracelets in green and cream, Botanics in orange, Sketch in black, Art Gallery Oval Elements in orange and a piece of blue fabric I inherited from my Gran. I've used the same blue fabric for the back of the cushion.

The camper is raw edge appliqued using a mixture of machine blanket stitch and straight stitch in grey Aurifil 50w. The quilting is also in Aurifil 50w in a variegated blue 2021 and a solid green 1147 (?). It's finished about 17" x 17" and I added a bit of the orange binding to finish off the envelope back.

I've got a few more finishes to show you in the next few days - I just need some help to photograph them!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Cross Cushion

I totally forgot to share this with you...

I posted about the start in a WIP Wednesday post a couple of weeks ago and finished the piecing the next day. I'm so pleased with it - it doesn't look as washed out as I was fearing.

I'm going to use this as a cushion cover. My husband, being the romantic he is, bought me a maternity cushion for Christmas - a body length cushion to support bump and hips. We both agreed it was pretty rubbish, so I'm going to repurpose it and turn it into a square. I need to decide on a fabric for the back of the cushion (I'm tempted to order some more of the emerald green cross hatch from Botanics) and then quilt it with some "straight" lines. I don't think it will happen in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

WIP Wednesday [all about the Great Aunts]

I set my machine up for free motion quilting. This may not sound hard and it isn't, but it is annoying. I love my machine, a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire, but the quilting table has to be described as one of the worst designed things ever. It is a flat piece of acrylic with six screw on plastic adjustable legs. Which snap if you breathe on them. I've recently bought some new ones so I currently have 6 working legs, but I also have a couple of mugs which happen to be a perfect height to support the table when I inevitably break one. For this reason, setting up to fmq is a task. But one I tackled on Monday night.

And I was glad I did. One of my Finish Along projects for this quarter was the quilt made from blocks I got when I was Queen Bee for Stash Bee. In October 2012. From the word go this was going to be a quilt for my great Aunt, Iris, because she told me her favourite colour was purple and I didn't have enough purple in my stash then to make a whole quilt. I think I still don't have enough purple. My Bee Mates did me proud and I got enough blocks for a generous lap quilt - 56"x73". And I can now happily say that it is quilted!

It's not my best quilting ever, but it does what I need it to do - with such a scrappy quilt, I was finding it hard to see the pattern created by the blocks. By quilting the squares created by the trellis design, it refocuses the eye to see that pattern.

Unfortunately the back is a bit baggy - I'm not sure if I don't need to do some extra quilting - maybe straight lines on the inside of the white.... any thoughts?

Aunty Iris was my Granny's sister. Granny died when I was eight, and her brother Raymond died when I was young as well, but Aunty Iris, Aunty May and Aunty Lil are still alive. Aunty Lil has severe Alzheimer now, but Aunty May, although not in great health, still has all her marbles. So I felt that if Aunty Iris got a quilt, then Aunty May should too. I'm ashamed to say that it was rather a last minute thought. I am intending on giving Aunty Iris her quilt in a few weeks time, and I had the thought about Aunty May about four weeks ago, so the pattern had be fairly straightforward. I decided to continue the theme started with my Baby Paws quilt - simple patchwork plus a bit of applique. Though this time I picked flowers rather than bear paws for the applique.

I added the petals using iron on stickiness - peeling off the paper back put in a thoroughly grumpy mood. I then free motioned around the edge of each petal twice and then echoed the shape inside each petal. I added a few flower centres and ta-dah!

And I love how it looks from the back too (please ignore the bagginess - it seems to be a theme)!

I now need to make a fair stack of binding and wait for Mia to fall asleep again to start trimming...

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, 8 June 2014


Mia has been spending some Daddy Time this weekend, so I got the chance to do some serious sewing.

Friday night I started on a cushion cover, using the pattern by Tula Pink

On Saturday I quilted a quilt - theoretically I quilted straight lines.... I'd basted this quilt with the microstitch gun and again I had a problem with the backing fabric rucking up. When this happenedon the first couple of quilts I quilted having basted this way, I thought it was just because I was spiral quilting (having never done this before) but now it has happened again I will be reviewing my comments on the microstitch gun and in the meantime I have ordered more 505 spray baster.

My living room isn't quite big enough...
I'm going to applique some flowers onto this quilt, so I'll be able to hide some of the worst parts on the front. The back is beyond help. Maybe a large quilt label, or two?

And today I continued piecing hexagons for Mia's buggy quilt.

This week Mia has experienced the "excitement" of being an England football fan, in the run up to the world cup. This photo is for Granny who doesn't think I should dress her in football clothes!!!

Linking up with Sewjo Saturday