Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Wildflowers [a finish]

I've finished another mini! And I'm prettyr surprised by this finish too to tell you the truth. I was feeling pretty uninspired at the start of the quarter, but as we started to pack up the house I found it and decided I still liked it and this was an achievable finish!

I started it last August, not long after the pattern appeared in Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 11 and was designed by Rebecca at Bryan House Quilts. I decided it would make a great holiday sewing project for our summer holiday in Devon and I used a Design Seeds image to pick my colour scheme and raided my stash for the fabrics. It's all pieced using the EPP technique and I think it took me longer to baste the pieces than it did to join them together.

By the time we drove back up the A1 after our holiday it was pieced! And then I ignored it for a while. Until I got round to piecing the back...

There was quite a lot of large pieces of waste fabric from when I trimmed rectangles cut from yardage to fit the funny EPP shapes. I kept it all and improv pieced it to make a strip in the backing. The rest of the backing is a vintage pillow case I picked up in a Sidmouth charity shop for 50p - one side was hideously faded, but the other side was perfect - in condition and in how well it matched this project - I just had to make a it a bit bigger! There was a point when I couldn't decide if this would be the back or another mini! 

So when I picked it up again last week I was surprised to finish the quilting in just a couple of evenings. I used #16 perle thread in dark purple around each star. I then added binding.... which it turns out is a slightly different purple to the background...never mind.
This picture shows the colours better than the first

Hope there is a lot of wall space in the new house!!! This mini was on my Finish Along list at the start of the quarter!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Friday, 27 March 2015

Love [a finish]

When Vicky and Karl first got engaged, I said that I would love to make them a full size lap or bed quilt, they just needed to let me know what they liked. They picked out this pin from Pinterest and my heart sank. It's pretty boring isn't it.... I know marsala is quite brown and that's the colour of the year... but it's still brown. Lots of brown. A little negotiation ensued and I offered to make this as mini with an open offer of a larger quilt at some point in the future.

The "engraved" details are hand embroidered in DMC stranded cotton and I've then used reverse applique to add the "bark". It's not a smooth heart because although I have never engraved a heart on a tree, I imagine it's pretty hard to get it smooth.... right? Also, it's quite a difficult shape to get smooth using the technique I did....

I used Aurifil 40 weight to do some wood-grain quilting and just scraped together enough scraps of the remaining brown fabric to add a narrow binding - this was a bit hairy - as I got closer and closer to the end I was sure I wouldn't have enough...it was so tight that I didn't trim either end when I joined the ends. I have no intention of cutting it that fine again. Please remind me to plan bindings better - I get to that point and then wonder what the hell to do as I don't keep much in my stash bigger than a fat quarter and for any quilt bigger than a mini, a fat quarter just doesn't cut it! The back is my favourite Ikea print. Intentionally sideways... honest.

This was on my Finish Along list at the start of the quarter and to be honest I didn't really expect to be a finish at the end of the quarter... quite a nice little surprise!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

WIP Wednesday [binding]

My WIP is all about binding at the moment... I've nearly finished binding my UK mini swap

I've started binding the "brown one"

I've just attached binding to the "purple one"

I'm really hoping for a few finishes soon - these three minis are so close!
And Mia is also sharing WIP Wednesday - the scraptastic edition!

This little fruitcake took her first few steps yesterday!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

Monday, 23 March 2015

Moccasin Block of the Month [3]

Three moths in and I am still keeping up to date with this block of the month. It might be some kind of record!

Last month we just made one block because of the curved piecing. Curved piecing doesn't really bother me so it meant an easy month.... to make up for it, this month there are three blocks. And although half square triangles are nice and straightforward, there were quite a lot of them...

I made two shoo-fly blocks

And a crows foot block

When I planned out my colours for this quilt, I took each of the colours in the original and lined it up with a colour from my palette. For the last two months it's taken me longer to work out the colours than to cut and piece the fabric. So this month, after the first 20 minutes of trying to work it out I decided to chuck out that method and just pick fabric combinations I liked!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Preppy the Whale [a {lovely} finish]

It's been a fair few months in the works this quilt. But it is finally finished and it has to be one of the coolest quilts I've ever made. I can take little credit for that, however, as it's mostly down to the fabulous pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. Let's be honest, I've even stolen her fabric placement.

The whales are all made from solids, all except one are Kona solids - a bright pink Art Gallery slipped in to make up the numbers!

The quilting is quick and simple cross hatch at 3" intervals.

The binding was very nearly a disaster. I cut the binding fabric in advance, making use of the rarest of events - a clear cutting table. And then a couple of weeks passed. And then we did some packing. And of course, the binding I had cut disappeared entirely. I even unpacked boxes looking for, but it is gone.  So the next step was to pull out the remaining fabric. I looked at it, laughed in desparation and shoved it back in the box - there was no way I could get enough binding out of it. And my Kona colour card is packed, so I couldn't match it (and that box was at the bottom of the pile). It also meant I couldn't colour match any of the whales as an alternative. I pulled out the piece of fabric and remeasured. If I shrunk the binding to just 2" cut I could get just enough out. So I did. When i came to joining the two ends together I trimmed just 2" off. Phew. And I really like the narrow binding in the end!

This will be winging its way to the baby who is now 6 months old in the next few days! Better late than never. In order to push this quilt to the top of the priority pile, I set this as my goal for March for A Lovely Year of Finishes (link up no. 43)...

...and it's also on my Finish Along List for Q1!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tuesday Club

**I'm totally using this post to share random photos you've all seen before!**

I missed posting for WIP Wednesday yesterday. I like to try and to do this each week as it means I check in regularly and I also post about things in progress, not just finishes, as I have fallen into the habit of mostly just posting about finishes... but life sometimes gets in the way: Michael was out of the country with work, Mia decided not to go back to sleep after her 4am bottle and I had a commitment on Tuesday night that left me exhausted - but in a good way!
At the end of the talk, people came up to me to tell me which quilt was their favourite - I think this one got the most votes: it currently lives folded up in a cupboard but on the basis of Tuesday night, it's now going to live with Linda!

My mother-in-law, Linda, is an active member of the local Methodist Church and attends Tuesday Club. Apparently it use to be called the Young Wives, but as my mother-in-law is one of the youngest there (and she just celebrated a significant birthday herself), they went for a name change! It's a bit like the WI - they sing a couple of hymns, spend some time in prayer, and have a guest speaker. And this Tuesday I was it!
Neon Stained was another favourite

It's been in my diary for nearly 9 months, but by a stroke of bad luck, Michael was sent away with work at exactly the same time. I meant I walked out of the house on Tuesday night with my daughter screaming in the arms of my cousin who had come to babysit. It can't have been too bad, because she still wants her for a sleepover!

And the shear size of this quilt made it quite popular too

I decided to give a short potted history of my life as a sewer - cross stitch, embroidery and then quilting, and then to show them some of the various techniques I use, before talking about the importance of the quilting community online. And at every step I got to show them some quilts.

Some of my old cross stitch got an outing!

It took me ages to collect up all the quilts and cushions about the house - we use a lot of them every day, so most had to also go through the washing machine before I dared share them! I had my notes, I had the quilts in order, I had four big bags... I was set.

During the talk my mother-in-law and Aunty-in-law held up the quilts as my glamorous assistants and the 40 or so ladies all ooo-ed and aaah-ed in the right places. It was absolutely lovely to share all of my quilts, and to see them being enjoyed by others. And it was quite a surprise to me just how many I had when I put them all together. Now I simply have the problem of three large bags of quilts in the dining room....and where did I put the zippy pouch with all my hand sewing in it?

Friday, 13 March 2015


I love earrings. I'm not in any way slim or petite, so the clothes I want to wear hardly ever fit, so I make up for it with earrings. And that means I have quite the collection. A couple of years ago I made myself a travel roll for my earrings, with the intention of making something more usable for when I'm at home. Well of course, that never happened, the earrings stayed in the roll. Or rather on the roll because I never bothered to put them away properly.

Fast forward to last week when I had a huge pile of earrings, hair accessories, bracelets and necklaces (which I rarely wear) in the middle of my dressing table. I was late for work and could not find a pair of earrings for love nor money. I forgot to take a picture of it at it's worst, but we'll call this the before picture!

Back when I originally had the idea I had bought the frame I needed and the ribbon I needed and they were all carefully packed away. I even found them. Originally I had intended low volume hexagons as the background, then that became squares, and in the end I found a beautiful fabric I had forgotten about and made the whole thing from a single piece.

And this was the result. The after picture at the top of the post. Much prettier, much tidier and most importantly running-very-late-friendly! Why did I wait two years when this took me just under an hour?

Thursday, 12 March 2015


It's shipping - my gravity quilt kit is on it's way! And the ruler I need has already arrived. All I need now is a quilt-along.... oh wait! Myra at Busy Hands Quilt has just announced she'll be organizing one!


Anyone else want to join in?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

WIP Wednesday [juggling]

Right now it feels like I'm juggling a hundred balls and nearly dropping them: work is hard - I'm a new project manager and learning on my feet a lot of the time. At home we're juggling solicitors, packing, paperwork, and keeping on top of the washing! Not to mention squeezing in as much as possible to spend with our little monster.

All of that doesn't leave much time for sewing... but I find I have to fit some in - a day is better if some sewing happens. So I'm working on little bits and even here I feel like I'm juggling lots of little projects.

I'm still quilting the girl with the umbrella - I've made a little progress...

...I've basted the woodland cushion and dug out the perle threads tonigh - I need bright pink...

...I've attached the binding to my UK mini swap quilt, but haven't sewn it down yet...

...and Preppy is basted and marked up, but I think I'm out of light grey thread...

So far I'm happy to report that no balls have been dropped (or at least, no one has noticed if I have dropped one). A couple of close shaves - I nearly forgot to take my car for it's MOT today!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

Monday, 9 March 2015

Patchwork City Mini Mini

A while back, I explained why I had trouble falling in love with my Patchwork City, and mentioned that I would love to try a mini version of it. Well once I'd put it out there I couldn't get the idea out of my head, so instead of working on one of my many on-going projects, I cut up some yellows and greys and went for it: a fair few of the pieces end up at just 1/2" wide (and a couple at 1/4").

My plan for this year is to have a different mug rug on my desk at work each month, then after that month add them to the wall of minis that I will have in our new house. My three Patchwork City blocks, with a bit of sashing and a border cam in at 9.5" x 9.5" - perhaps a little large for a mug rug but I don't care.

I finished the mug rug off with some hand-quilting in yellow perle thread around each of the blocks. I then machine stitched the narrow binding to the back, and brought it round to the front where I hand stitched it in place with the same yellow thread and a running stitch.And the backing is a great print from Comma by Zen Chic which I love but is quite a large scale print I've been struggling to use! And that I've also forgotten to photograph...

This was also a great dry run for my planned black sashing on my full size quilt. Whilst I like it, I may try this again with a dark grey sashing and compare the too. Today was my first day at work with this little addition on my desk and you know what - I want more. I want a whole quilt of these tiny little blocks.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Distracted by pretty fabric [foxes and racoons]

Does it ever happen to you? Random fabrics, accidentally placed next to each other on a shelf, which are simply a match made in heaven!? Those heavens aligned with these fabrics: the fox and raccoon print (the selvage says it's a Timeless Treasures print) was a very generous extra in the Whimsical Woodland Mug Rug swap parcel I received from Alison (@alisonwhite31 on Instagram).

The coral from Modern Neutrals (the inner log top left) was a recent purchase at our LQS, bought with no project in mind - I just liked it. And they were perfect for each other. So I shopped my stash and found a few other coordinating fabrics: Art Gallery Natural Elements, Fossil Fern, Kona solids, Figures by Zen Chic, a Lu Summers print....

I knew right from the start that I would make log cabins. I did all the cutting, then sat and pieced. The first two blocks went together beautifully. And then I got cocky. I had finished block three before I realised that not only had I twirled my log cabin anti-clockwise rather than clockwise, but the raccoon was back in Australia with Alison - upside down. I wasn't planning on taking the entire block apart, so I'm resigned to the anti-clockwise twirl, but the raccoon was surgically unpicked and re-inserted with least unpicking possible! You can only tell if you look very closely! And block four headed in the same direction, but I twigged early enough to unpick as I went.

I need to decide how to quilt this now - hand quilting with perle thread of machine quilting? If I go with the latter, it either needs to get done this weekend, or realistically wait until after the impending move...

Friday, 6 March 2015

Sashiko Zippy Pouch

My sister-in-law is a Japanophile.... she likes things Japanese (it is a real word - I looked it up). Back in the autumn Mum and I visited a local quilt show and saw some some zippy pouches with Sashiko embroidery on. I've done Sashiko embroidery once before, at the Harrogate quilt show, taught by a Japanese lady who spoke no English. I really enjoyed it and the next time I saw a kit, I bought one.

I decided to dig out the kit, and make my sister-in-law a Sashiko zippy pouch. But could I find that kit. I have searched high and low and it remains elusive. In came Jo (My Bear Paw) to save the day with a perfectly timed Sashiko project in Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I say perfectly timed, but said sister-in-law's birthday was on January 1st. As you can probably tell, this is a belated present. In my defence, this weekend is the first time I will have seen her since her birthday!

It was further belated when I saw the new Japanese-inspired Cotton and Steel prints. I had to wait until these were available, and I originally intended to use the navy mountain print as a lining, but when it came it was far too pretty, to put on the inside, so I've used it on the back, and dug out my favourite lining colour of the moment - bright coral pink. I hope she doesn't mind a splash of colour!

I made up the zippy pouch using my own measurements: 11.5" x 8.5" for the front and back panels and the lining panels, and then I box the corners by measuring 1.5" from the corner and stitching a straight line across, then trimming. I add tabs to the end of my zips using a great tutorial from Very Berry Handmade.

I can happily report that it was well received and is destined to become a wash bag.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

WIP Wednesday [nursery hoops II]

I introduced you to this little project a couple of weeks ago. I prepared and stitched three or four in a relatively short space of time, then I started on the French knot hoop and progress slowed. Here's the current state of that particular monster:

This little hoop seemed to be a bit of a roadblock, so rather than waiting to finish it before starting some more, yesterday I started another one:

I've loved this foundation pieced design since Juliet released it and this was the perfect excuse to have a try. I reduced the pattern to 70% so it fit in a hoop and used some Kona solids and a new purple fabric. It seemed to take forever to work out the size of the pieces of fabric I needed, cut the fabric, and trace the pattern (I use freezer paper for my foundation patterns and can't be bothered to work out how to print on it, so I trace the patterns and it doesn't really take too long). But by bedtime yesterday I had my finished girl with a brolly. I cut two lots of fabric, as I intend to make myself a little matching mug rug. Tonight I've used the rest of the light blue fat quarter and put her in a hoop. I'm going to add a bit of quilting (though I've only added interfacing not batting).

And the next hoop will involve buttons!

I still have loads of idea (and less and less time before the move on 4th April - we haven't started packing our house yet!), so watch this space for some more hoops soon. Oh yes, and this happened today. Must. Not. Start. Yet.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes [March goal]

I've had a browse through the remainder of my Finish Along list for Q1 and picked out a quilt I really should finish: it's a baby quilt, but if I take much longer, the recipient won't be a baby any more... Preppy the Whale needs to be swimming off into the distance!

All of the whales are pieces and yesterday I started working on the sashing - I really don't enjoy sashing, so it hasn't moved as quickly as it could have done.

Normally I go out to sew on a Monday evening and I often use these few hours to layer up quilts, but next week I won't be going so I need to work out how to get this done. And how to get it marked - I'm going to quilt a cross hatch grid, but find I get better results if I mark each line, rather than relying on quilting guides. And then life will get very busy with the house move, so this month could be one where I don't achieve my goals. Pop back in a few weeks to find out!

Linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes
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Sunday, 1 March 2015

February [in review]

Where the hell did February disappear to? I did not get enough sewing time last month.  And when I don't sew I get grumpy. The move is creeping up on us - just a month to go - and I'm dreaming of the end of April when I will have my sewing space set up again and fewer commitments. That thought, and my "things I want to make" list are keeping me going!

And although sewing time was less than optimal, I did get a few things finished: a baby quilt...

...a hooded towel for Mia (and I bought some more flannel to make another two)...

...two bibs for Mia (I want to make at least another 8 as they are so much better than the shop-bought ones)

...three sets of blocks for Patchwork City (teal, curry [below] and buttercup)

...lots of hand sewing: hoops for Mia's nursery...

...fiddly, obnoxious clamshells...

... I've kept on track with the Moccasin BOM ( and March just landed in my inbox)...

...I had a ball trying out thread sketching...

...and possibly my greatest achievement: a hat!

There were other things too, but it turns out I had even less time for blogging, so I'm preparing some catch up posts for the next few days.

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day