Friday, 27 February 2015

I made a hat

Like an actual hat. One I can wear in public. I only have phone selfies to prove it though...

I wore it out an about today.

The pattern is from Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine (the latest issue) and I knew as soon as I saw it, that I would be making one. I ordered bias tape. And it took 2 weeks to arrive. But it did arrive yesterday ad by bedtime I had a finished hat.

I used a grey Art Gallery print for the outside, and a bright pink texty/dressmaking fabric for the lining!

It went together much easier than I expected: the parts that took longest were cutting it out using templates (yuck - templates) and hand stitching down the bias tape to finish it off. The biggest challenges were trying to press the seams - impossible! And attaching the self-cover button. I made the medium sized hat having measured my head, but it was way too big, so I added a small pleat to the back panel - it looks fine, though is still a bit loose.

I bought fabric today to make another one - I'm thinking brown with lime green lining! But this time the small size!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Trellis [a {lovely} finish]

February was a month for slow sewing. My weekends have been very busy and in the evenings I'm more inclined to sit with some hand sewing than sit at my sewing machine. I also felt pretty uninspired by most of the items on my Finish Along list, which is normally the basis for my ALYOF goal. With just a few hours before the end of the link-up I picked Trellis, which was pieced and basted. Theoretically, quilting wouldn't take long....

And once I sat down and did it, it didn't take long, and I now have a finished baby quilt ready to gift to its little owner (who is now a few months old).

The idea for the quilt came from a fat quarter bundle (Flo's Garden from Makower) I'd forgotten I'd bought and a block I saw on Instagram. I can't remember now who had posted it, but it was someone in Australia. I loved the secondary pattern created by repeating the blocks, so worked out the measurements, raided my stash for some coordinating solids and within a very short time, I had a quilt to.

For the backing I managed to pick up yardage of the apple print in a sale at our LQS. When it came to quilting I outlined and stippled the white, and outlined the printed panels - what I like to call stitching near the ditch!

And the binding - I used the same red for the binding as I had in the quilt, mostly because I had enough on hand. But it was perfect and really turned this quilt from ok to great (at least in my eyes)!

So, I'm cutting it fine but I will be linking up this finish as my February success in A Lovely Year of Finishes

And in a month or so I'll link up with Adrianne for the Finish Along

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

WIP Wednesday [thread sketching]

I have seen and pinned many raw edge applique designs recently - the kind where you stick your fabric down, then set your machine to free motion quilting (without the quilt) and stitch round the edges and add details free-hand. At least that's how I figured it worked. Last Friday I drummed up the courage to have a go.

Pencils: minimal colour/shape decisions for the fabrics (and using some scraps), and simple shapes to outline. And I have to say, I'm pretty chuffed with this first attempt. Just as soon as I get some bright coloured zips, this will become a pencil case for my nephew (who last weekend was pretty put out that his sister's crayons were in the same pencil case as his pencils...)

Tonight none of my existing projects appealed so I announced I was going to have a play, pulled whatever fabrics were to hand and had another go: a tea cup was floating round in my head and my new Cotton and Steel fabric makes a very nice one, I think.

I showed it to my mother-in-law, who was sewing hexies on the sofa, and she asked for a Beach Hut for a friend's birthday. I was on a roll... so I made a beach hut!

My head is now full of other ideas I want to play with. I've also bought a set of alphabet stamps to add into the mix! But I wasn't brave enough to try them out this evening!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Patchwork City [Buttercup]

Three more blocks complete and I am now totally loving this project after somewhat uncertain beginnings.

This block may be my favourite so far. I really love using the charcoal scribble print from Art Gallery. I only had a fat quarter but picked up another half-meter on sale at Fluffy Sheep Quilting yesterday, so this will definitely continue to appear in my blocks!

I'm being much more conscious of my colour choices and how they will look against the black sashing I'm going to use, so the white text print on the right of this block should stand out nicely in the final quilt.

And the final block. I wish I had more fussy cut-able black/white/grey neutrals like the butterflies - it would definitely have improved this block...

The yellow fabrics are Kona Buttercup, Pearl Bracelets, Gleeful by Sew Caroline and Dreamin' Vintage by Jeni Baker (both Art Gallery). I added a bit more Mama Said Sew, a print from Red Rooster's Melrose, Sketch in black and a couple of random text prints with no selvage to the neutrals this week too.

Unofficially I'm working on a set of three blocks every week, and Buttercup is set number four.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

WIP Wednesday [Patchwork City - curry]

We went away last weekend to celebrate my mother-in-law's 60th Birthday. Fourteen of us descended on an unsuspecting country house hotel near the Scottish border and had a great weekend. We ate well, some of us drank well (there was no WKD Blue left after my sister-in-law had finished drinking cheeky Vimtos...). We spent Saturday at Bamburgh Castle and were so lucky with the weather - I could cope with this view from my living room! Who said the North Sea is grey?

Mia seemed to enjoy herself too - look at that grin!

And we topped off the weekend with Cards Against Humanity - not an appropriate game for Aunty Barbara, but a big hit with Uncle Gordon!

Two days away from my sewing machine, and I was getting severe withdrawal, so Sunday afternoon when we got back home, Michael and Mia napped together on the sofa, I sewed up her new bibs, and then I cut the fabrics for the next set of Patchwork City blocks: curry.

But it was only tonight that I got to put them together.

I now have nine blocks, making up three of the larger block sets, and 22 sets still to go, but I'm falling more and more in love with these blocks.

The curry fabrics are Kona curry (!), Comma by Zen Chic by Moda, 2 prints from Botanics (love), and XOXO from Cotton + Steel. The neutrals are not very different from my teal blocks, but I have added in the butterfly print which is from Biology by Sarah Watson (Cloud 9) and the black and white Oval Elements from Art Gallery.

Love the "consider the lilies" fussy cut, but don't understand
why it was on the fabric or what it means really
Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Baby Bibs [scraptastic Tuesday]

I know it's Sunday, but I've only just got to sit at my sewing machine today, and I've had the idea of this project swimming round my head all weekend. Why is it that when you simply cannot sew you have more ideas than ever? Pinterest is a dangerous place, and I've pinned quite a few home-sewn baby bibs recently.

I've been busy sorting my scraps by colour, because the longer-term scrap projects I have all need scraps by colour, but for these baby bibs I raided the unsorted scraps for a riot of colour. Part of me worries that once all my scraps are sorted by colour, this type of project will be harder. The reality is that there's a slim chance all my scraps will ever be fully sorted!

I used a template I found via Pinterest (from the Nana Company). I used my scraps for the front, and bought a meter of toweling fabric off Ebay for the backs (plenty of fabric for lots of bibs). It took me longest to sew all the scraps together - actually making the bib was very quick.

I had planned a button fastening, but my machine simply refused to sew a button hole through the towel, so I resorted to sew in velcro.

And then I made another one using up the binding scraps from the Amelia quilt. I have plenty of these scraps to use so a theme may develop!

Linking up with Leanne and Nicky

Scraptastic Tuesday

And just in case you've missed lots of Mia photos, here's another of my little fruitcake - I love her new T-Shirt that Daddy picked up

Friday, 13 February 2015


Life is mostly about hand sewing at the moment. February has turned into quite the busy little month and in the evenings I'm finding I would rather sit with hand sewing on the sofa than at my machine. Of course, a lack of sewing times means I have hundreds of ideas swimming around inside my head, desperate to get out!

But back to the hand sewing - I have three EPP projects on the go at the moment - some hexies left over from a project I worked on in 2013, some trapies blocks I started at Christmas and some clamshells. I order the paper pieces months (if not years) ago and carefully put them in the box for "one day".

Rachel over at Stitched in Color kicked off a Clambake quilt-along a few weeks ago and Anne and Adrianne kicked off the Pantone Colour challenge at about the same time, so I decided to play along with both and pulled out those paper pieces. Turns out that they are quite small - just 2" across the width, and it also turns out that sewing them together are quite fiddly. No, very fiddly!

Almost giving-up-level fiddly. But it turns out that with some perseverance it does get easier. But this will never grow up and become a full size quilt. I'm optimistic about a stripe on a cushion cover!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

WIP Wednesday [nursery hoops]

We are moving house. Just five minutes round the corner. It seems like there is tonnes to do, so of course I'm focussing on the important stuff... in the new house, Mia will have a much (much) larger nursery and a bigger room means more wall space. I've decided I'd like to fill it with embroidery hoops, much like this pin. And Michael is happy to go along with it.

I've spent far too long on Pinterest gathering ideas - you can find my inspiration board here, and this week I've finally started. The plan is that a lot of the hoops will have embroidery, or applique or even small piecing, but I'm also on the look out for some pretty fabrics which would be a focal in themselves, unadulterated by me. This isn't the type of fabric I tend to stash, so I'm keeping my eyes peeled as I go fabric shopping - any excuse!

This was the first hoop I completed: no particular reason or special meaning. It's a 10" hoop, the text print is a Timeless Treasures fabric which I picked up a while back from Sew Me A Song and the birds are a black batik. I used a lightweight fusible to attach them raw edge, and then did a small running stitch all round the edges by hand in black silk thread.

This hoop is more significant: it's just 4", the background is a dark purple Oakshott, and the white feather is for my father-in-law, John - Mia's Granddad, who passed away nearly 6 years ago. The white is Anchor #16 perle thread.

My baby girl already has quite the head-strong personality. It was inevitable really. And this hoop summed it up: "let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will move mountains". The background fabric is Painters Canvas and the embroidery is done using #16 Finca Perle. This one is an 8" hoop.

And I've made a start on a fourth hoop, though this one will definitely keep me busy for a while. I see a lot of French knots in my future. The thread is #16 Finca perle again, and the background fabric is from the Durham range (I think).

I have loads of ideas waiting in the wings (and on my Pinterest board), and generally these little hoops are nice quick projects to work on in the evenings. Moving date is still 7 weeks (agh!) away, so I hope to have quite a little pile ready for the new nursery.

I would love to make something like 20 hoops to start, then longer term, when Mia moves out of the nursery and the next baby comes along, some of the hoops will move with her, and over time I will make her more hoops for her new bedroom - maybe to note birthdays or firsts (the first tooth she loses or her first day at school for example). I would then make some new hoops to fill the gaps in the nursery for the new baby.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Patchwork City [Teal]

Last weekend I pieced the set of teal blocks for Patchwork City, using Kona Emerald.

This block used templates - argh! Not my favourite thing (in case you weren't aware). But by using freezer paper and rotary cutting I managed to get pretty good accuracy and I really like the finished block.

This block was just basic rotary cutting - lovely! Though the contrast between some pieces is perhaps not strong enough.

And I really like this one too. For the "hourglass" piecing in the centre I foundation pieced the stripes and the side triangles, rather than piecing the stripes traditionally and using templates for the sides.

And here are all three together

The Teal fabrics I've used are Cotton + Steel; Steel Netorious,  Pearl Bracelets, Art Gallery Oval Elements, Koa Strip (Molakai) and Alison Glass Bike Path. The low volume prints I can identify are Sew Mama Sew by Sweetwater, Indelible from Art Gallery, Pearl Bracelets, a few Stoff prints, Minimalista from Art Gallery, Cotton + Steel XOXO, Architextures cross hatch, Flea Market Fancy, Sunprint by Alison Glass, Type paper clips by Julia Rothman and what I think are some Eclectic Elements by Tim Holtz. There are other prints where I don't have the selvage...

After last week's dark green blocks I was unsure about this project: The blocks seemed a bit clunky. Now I've had a think, I know why I felt that:
  • Firstly, the pieces are bigger in these blocks than I was expecting. I've got so use to piecing 6" blocks, that an 8" block felt quite big. I've been working on fiddly blocks since I started quilting: a Farmer's Wife quilt; my long-running Architextures and Botanics quilt; a batiks quilt based on the book Sylvia's Bridal Sampler; and last year the Tula Pink City Sampler. 

  • Secondly, the shapes of and in the blocks: non-square blocks are such an oddity in sampler quilts, and I'm so use to symmetry in the traditional quilt blocks. The Tula Pink City Sampler quilt took me away from this symmetry for really the first rtime last year, but still in 6" square blocks; now I need to get use to the look of a rectangular block too.
  •  Thirdly, the blocks felt disjointed: I had pulled so many texty and low volume prints, and quite a few green prints, that the first few blocks just looked messy. Now that I'm six blocks in and I've repeated quite a few of the low volume prints, the blocks are starting to pull into a cohesive group even though the coloured fabrics will remain fairly scrappy.
  • And finally I couldn't picture the finished quilt. The sample in the book is sashed in grey fabric, and I don't like it - simply my personal choice. So I was trying to picture the blocks with white sashing. But it didn't feel right because of all the not-quite-white low volume I'm using. On Saturday night I had a hallelujah moment. Black. And now I can picture how this quilt will look. I think the black will set off the jewel-tone solids well (except perhaps the planned navy - maybe a I need a rethink there) and it will not grate against any of the low volumes.
Last week's dark green blocks
That was a lot of thinking... but it's helped me understand why I didn't love this project as much as I had hoped when I started. And in understanding it, I'm starting to love it. And it's given me a few new ideas that I'd like to explore: I'd love to have a go at shrinking these blocks, and I'd like to explore rectangular blocks more. Just as soon as there are more than 24 hours in a day...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Moccasin Block of the Month [2]

Well this BOM is going better than some others... it's month two and I have made the block during the month! I've got this far before - next month will be the real test of it!

Curves this month, but just one block, rather than two.

I love how this turned out. I did my curves following Leanne's curves video. I've used this in the past and it is brilliant, but it had been a while since I've sewn a curve so I needed a refresher. I didn't use a single pin on the curves and my mothe-in-law declared she hated me - so Linda, if you read this, follow the link above to learn the secret for yourself!

Whilst curves were conquered, basic piecing was more an issue - spot the deliberate mistake...which I kind of like and won't be fixing!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes [February Goal]

I am feeling totally out of this week - life is pretty hectic, but not necessarily in a bad way! We're preparing to move houses, so there is a lot to do - trips to the tip, to the charity shop, to the mortgage advisor... calls for insurance, solicitors, removal company, builder... I don't understand how people can do this every few years - I am never moving again!

It's also been hectic because I've had dinner out a number of times this week - I'm not confessing to how many. lets just say that once we're moved and settled the next thing up is a diet! I briefly tried whilst juggling the move and regular life and it just didn't work, but I've been pinning some appealing recipes in anticipation.

But the downside to all of this is I've had very little sewing time. Where I have had a couple of hours I've been had sewing so there has been very little progress. I have no lunch dates for the rest of the week, so hopefully can spend some time relaxing. And of course with this hectic week I've nearly forgotten to share my February goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. I've just realised with 9 hours to go. I've had a look down my Finish Along list and picked out Trellis as my goal for February.

This is a baby quilt I've made for colleagues of my Husband. I pieced it back in October, but only got to baste it this week - I picked up one of the prints from the front in the sale to back it so it was worth the wait.

I'm thinking of a stipple in the white areas and then some ditch quilting around the focal prints. If I get some free time to tackle - February doesn't seem to be slowing down much.
  My Button

Monday, 2 February 2015

An unexpected detour

Yesterday I was busy working on a baby quilt - Preppy the Whale to be precise. I was on a roll. I gave Mia her bottle and put her down for a nap and went into my own room to pick up the baby monitor, and my eyes fell on a bag of towels I had picked up. Mia has outgrown her baby towels, so I'd bought a few adult bath towels in the Asda sale along with some coordinating flannels with the intention of making some hooded towels.  My eyes also fell on a random piece of flannel left over from blankets I made earlier in the year.

There was a match. So rather than carry on making whales, I grabbed towel and flannel, and made a hooded towel. I don't know why I'd been procrastinating (both were clearly on view for the last few weeks in my room). It took a full half an hour.

I winged it a bit: I cut the flannel (face cloth) in half diagonally, and sewed it wrong sides together with a triangle of flannel (brushed cotton?) the same size along the longest side, then turned it through and top stitched the seam. I basted it to one corner of the towel, then used the rest of the flannel (brushed cotton) to make some binding. I added the binding all the way round and ta-dah!

I hindsight, I should have been more careful with my seam allowance, and maybe cut the binding 3" instead of 2.5" as there were quite a few chunky layers especially round the hood. But I am chuffed to bits with this very quick finish. I have a few more to make, but either need to buy more flannel, or decide to use regular quilting cotton to line the hood and bind it. The one unknown is how the two materials will shrink when I wash them (neither are pre-washed - I'm too lazy). But with a little more finesse this would make a great present - my sister-in-law has already put in a request!

And because this post is word heavy - another picture. I found this beautiful fabric during my lunch break today. I'm desperately looking for something to make with it to justify buying lots of it!

It's by Lewis and Irene which I've never heard of before, but the quality seems fine to me!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

January [in review]

I love the start of a new year: there are lots of new projects popping up and I feel no guilt in joining them like I do the rest of the year (normally because I joined so many in January). And because of that there aren't too many finishes to share this month:

Two mug rugs: one for the Whimsical Woodland Mug Rug Swap - have you noticed my addiction for Urban Threads recently? Another for me using a Lucky Stars pattern and some morning sky inspiration for my colour palette. I finished off a mini quilt to send to my partner in the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap. I made two 2-in-1 zippy pouches to go with the swap parcels. And my final finish was the Essential Sampler Quilt - my oldest WIP. You can read al about how important this quilt is to me in this post.

At the time of writing this, the Schnitzel and Book mini quilt has been received by @nwquiltedcat, but the mug rug is still in transit. I, however, have been very lucky with both of my packages. A fabulous parcel from Australia with my beautiful new mug rug and my first ever Tim Tams.

And an incredibly generous parcel from the US with a gorgeous Geometric Bliss Mini. Isn't that yellow binding just perfect!
I've been working on the next swap mini #UKMiniSwap (and I  may have signed up for another)

I've spent some time playing with some EPP projects: an old hexie one, some trapies, and as of yesterday, some clamshells

And of course, there are the new projects:

Power of Nine BOM Baby quilt; Moccasin BOM; Marcelle Medallion; Patchwork City

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day
Fresh Sewing Day