Thursday, 21 May 2015


There are so many nappies in your life with a 15-month-old... and every time we go out we lug a huge changing bag around with us. Nappies, nappy bags, wipes, sippy cup, bottle, milk powder, change of clothes, pouch of food, snacks, bib, spoons, dummy and increasingly, books and toys.  But it's a big bag, with a shoulder strap that slips off and if we're just nipping to the shops it's pain to drag it around.

What I need is a small pouch I can shove in my hand bag with the bare essentials. I searched on Pinterest for nappy pouch and inevitably found nothing. It turns out the correct term in "diaper clutch". I'm so very English.... nothing really did what I wanted so I made my own up. I'm calling this "proof of concept". Which means it needs considerable tweaking. 

At a basic level it's a mini quilt, with two squares off pockets on the inside and a velcro strap to hold it all together. I was clever enough to put two bits of velcro so it still holds everything together even when the pack of wipes is nearly empty. I'm quite pleased with it!

We're going on holiday next week - I will shove this in the rucksack and see how we manage. But I already know I want to make some additions: a small internal, flat pocket to shove some nappy bags in; the squared off pocket for the wipes is a little large; a strap on one side so I could loop it over my wrist when I leave the table and head for the baby changing facility carrying my little lump; I made the velcro strap in the MOST cack-handed way ever and if I had thought ahead I could have added the velcro earlier in the process so as to hide the stitching on the back.

Maybe for our next holiday I'll have Version 2 to test.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Three [lovely] Moccasin Blocks

My aim for a Lovely Year of Finishes for May is to make sure I don't fall behind on the Moccasin BOM from Gen X Quilters. I didn't complete April blocks in April because of the small matter of moving house, and I could easily slip further and further behind... this is my way of getting back on track.

But this post should be called "Three nearly [lovely] Moccasin Blocks"...

So here are April blocks - this was my first time making string blocks and I really enjoyed it. It definitely won't be my last.

And a single block for May - this will be the focal point of the quilt. It was also another technique I don't often play with - Dresden circles. Unfortunately, despite carefully making sure the printer was set to no scaling, and being very careful with my seam allowance, the circle is 3" too big. Yes. 3". I have no idea where it went wrong. I'm going to leave it for now. If, once I've pieced all the blocks, I have enough fabric left to make it, I will, and this will become a cushions. If I don't have enough fabric left, I will have to trim this one down and have either a Dresden without points, or applique in prairie points instead... hopefully there'll be fabric left!

At the end of May I'll be linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes. And if I win, it will be up to them to judge whether this farce qualifies...

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Quiet Book

If you follow me on Instagram then you'll know what I've been playing with this weekend. I have had the whole weekend to sew, while Michael and Mia have spent time together and it has been wonderful. I was all set up in the conservatory with my sewing machine and I've been binge watching Harry Potter! I've made Mia a quiet book, for when we go on holiday next weekend - in the hope it will keep her quiet in the car! I'm allowed to be optimistic. Warning - the rest of this post contains A LOT of pictures! I spent hours playing with felt and ribbon!

The front cover is pretty straight forward... the whole book fastens with velcro

The inside front cover is also very simple - we saw the cat fabric in the shop when we went to buy the felt and Mia saw it and started saying "cat, cat, cat"! I'll be really upset if this is her favourite page...

But then the pages got a little more involved - Mia loves lions: "what noise do lions make?" "ROAR!"

A birdhouse

With a nest and chick

This was the first page I made - the fish swim along the ribbon! Isn't that fabric background perfect? It's a Lewis and Irene print also spotted when we bought the felt.

I feel I should have done more with this telephone - but the receiver is attached with velcro and linked to the phone with the ric rac.

Next up is a jelly fish - this was the second page I did, and I felt that the ribbons weren't enough so I gave the jelly fish a hat - she loves lifting the flaps - in the books where she hasn't ripped the flap off...

And hid an starfish underneath it

Another sea-themed page and one of my favourites: the whale's mouth opens with the zip

To reveal a fish! I got very bored of making fish...

This giraffe page is my favourite! And probably the one I spent the most time on. As well as the taggy ribbons...

There's a ladybird under the leaf.

This cat page was important because of how much Mia likes cats, but I really struggled with what to do - I had a vision but it didn't fill the page as I expected so I added the bunting. The water is a pocket that the fish lives in.

And then the inside back cover is an egg

With a dinosaur in it (he's also attached with velcro)!

And finally the basic back cover.

I can't take much creative credit for these pages - the giraffe and bird house are nearly all my own idea, but the others are lovingly stolen from the numerous inspiring pictures I've collected on my Pinterest board. But I didn't use templates, so I do take credit/blame for the drawing - the giraffe would have made a good dragon if I'd used red felt! There are so many great ideas out there I'd love to try so maybe Mia will get another quiet book in the future.

I think Daddy and Mia had a tiring weekend too!

And we had to remove the sling from the bottom of the highchair after this...

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Pimp my 2-in-1 pouch

As you can clearly see from last Wednesday's "Addicted" post I really do enjoy EPP... and with so many projects on the go, I need to organize them, and make sure that I can grab and go with a project (especially with a holiday coming up!).

So the last few evenings I've been working on a new 2-in-1 zippy pouch (pattern from S.O.T.A.K handmade). I made a few of these at Christmas and for swaps and loved how quickly they came together. But my one needed something more.
I added that tag on the left too - not sure what I'll do with it...

I changed the size - made the bigger one bigger so I can fit in finished 3" hexagons. I added an internal pocket - at the moment I'm thinking it would be a great place to 'park' wonderclips (I've found the to be really useful when piecing long edges such as joining 3" hexagons - they take the strain off my hand).

But the interior panel is where I made the most additions...I added another pocket, with a bit of velcro and a line of hand stitching - measured to be perfect for my scissors, and the velcro discourages them from disappearing! I also made a matching pincushion and needlecase, both with velcro on the back. They can be zipped away in the pouch, or attached to the interior panel.

This is possibly the girliest thing I've ever made - the fabric really isn't my usual pick (I got in an Instagram destash bundle) but as soon as I saw it I knew it would match perfectly with the Sweetwater Noteworthy pink that's been in my stash for a while, and bright yellow! And the cross hatch hand quilting just adds to the cutesy-ness.

All I need to do now is decide which of the EPP projects gets to move in!

Bloggers' Quilt Festival [Mix Tape]

I can't believe how quickly the Bloggers' Quilt Festval has come around again - I was totally unprepared with no idea what to enter. And then I remembered this quilt. Not only do I love this quilt, but it's story is an important one. This is my Mix Tapes Quilt. Or rather, Chloe's Mix Tape Quilt.

This foundation pieced tape block design was in issue of 10 of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine and I made one because I liked it and thought maybe I'd make a mug rug with a single block. And then I made another. And another. And another until I had 15 in total.

And it was about then that the purpose for this quilt became apparent. A good friend of my sister-in-law has a daughter called Chloe. When she was little, she survived cancer. And now, aged 13, her heart was failing her. Very quickly she went from a normal teenager to the transplant waiting list, spending each day in hospital. Steph asked me to make this quilt for her. I surrounded the 15 mix tapes with some wide uneven borders, using Kona cotton black and some of the quilters' favourite Ikea fabric.

On the back I up-sized the tape block and appliqued Chloe's name.

The quilting is a mix of ditch quilting around the tapes, a border of pebble quilting, and cross hatch quilting in between. I even added a line of hand quilting in pink perle thread within the black border - I had planned on quilting in this border on the machine, but I would have needed to use black thread top and bottom (my tension isn't perfect enough that a light thread wouldn't show through from the back) but black on the back, over the mix tape pieced on the back, just didn't work... so hand quilting it was!)

The biggest challenge of this quilt was finding fabrics to fussy-cut for the tape reels and the tape labels - there were a couple of instances of slightly dubious fussy cutting - this one is my husband's favourite. I didn't even notice the 'f' until he pointed it out ( can you see it?)

And the happy ending of this quilt? Just a couple of weeks later, in early November, Chloe got her new heart. Her recovery went so well that she was home just in time for Christmas! Although the festival is all about quilts, I would ask you to take a moment and think about whether you would be willing to be an organ donor. Have a chat with your family and make sure they know your wishes. I'm an organ donor. Are you?

Back to the quilts - I'm linking this quilt up in the "small quilts" category - it measures in dead on the size limit at 60" x 60" making it 240" all round! I'm looking forward to sitting down with a cup of tea in the next few days to browse through as many entries as I can!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

WIP Wednesday [addicted]

To English paper piecing. Or so it seems! I thought today I'd do a round up of the numerous projects I have underway... starting with my newest project! This is the first round of the first rosette of the New Hexagon Millefiori quilt.

It took me a while to twig on what this quilt was. It's based on the book The New Hexagon by Katja Marek and you have to have the book to make the quilt, but the quilt itself isn't in the book... the book contains the building blocks and each month Katja is releasing another rosette which combines those building blocks. The first rosette has 37 individual hexagon blocks in it and each of the hexagons is a pieced block - each of these is a 3" finished hexagon which means this is chunkier piecing that La Passacaglia. You can find more info on Katja's site - I dare you not to join in. I've decided to make mine using the low volumes and neutrals in my stash which some splashes of colour thrown in - this makes it very different from my version of La Passacaglia

Which of course I started last week. This is definitely smaller scale piecing than the New Hexagon Millefiori. I'm picking out a fabric with a few different colours in (quite a rare phenomenon in my stash) and then coordinating blenders around that print. My first rosette (a number 8 rosette for those who understand these things) is now finished. I decided to leave it as quite a small rosette because although I like the fabrics, I don't love them. But the next rosette is part basted and I'm in love with the colour scheme!

Those are the two big, new EPP projects, but there are a few others knocking about too, such as the trapies I started at Christmas. I have no idea where I'm going with this, but three blocks are pieced and four more are cut...

There are some citrus hexagons. I made flowers up from these fabrics nearly three years ago, and then didn't use them all as I'd planned. I got fed up of moving them round my sewing area so stitched them together. Wouldn't this look great and scrappy as a full quilt. I'm using 3/4" hexagons so let's not hold out breath - but this is a nice easy project for when I don't have space to lay out the pieces as I'm stitching together all the same shape in a random manner.

I'm taking part in a Hand Pieced mini quilt swap on Instagram and today I basted the first few pieces. I'm making rosette 1 from the New Hexagon Millefiori but based on 2" hexies rather than 3" hexies... here's my initial layout but I may swap the grey and yellow.

Of course I'm making a Patchwork of the Crosses quilt too. And although I've only cut pieces to make a fairly small quilt I've started thinking about making this bigger too because I'm really enjoying it. I've obviously had this thought before because when I was unpacking at the weekend I found a bulk pack of the honeycomb paper pieces... 1200... should keep me going!

And finally I have a project I started when I was travelling to Budapest in early 2013 - it's the ferris wheel pattern combining hexies, squares and equilateral triangles, and made from Mama Said Sew fabric from Sweetwater. I have to confess I haven't touched this in a while and I don't quite know what it will grow up to become at the moment - it honestly took me a while to find a photo of it. Poor unloved UFO.

Does anyone else have an addiction like this?
Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Hibiscus Stitches

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Happy Patchwork

I've spent some spare time this week picking and cutting a lot of fabric. Over 120 different fabrics came out of my stash and onto the cutting table! The reason is this:

A new quilt for Mia. She's now big enough to have a quilt and a pillow for bedtime, so Mummy needs to make her a quilt and pillow cover. And she loves cats. Absolutely loves them! It's a shame we have two dogs really... but Elizabeth Hartman's "The Cat Quilt" is perfect - it appeals to her because it is cats and it will be colourful, and it appeals to me because it is a sampler quilt - each cat face is different. And once the cutting was done, the piecing comes together SO fast!

pretty trimmings
Each cat face is a solid plus 2-5 print fabrics. Twenty-five faces equals a lot of different fabrics. And whilst I was cutting for the cats, I decided to cut a 2.5" square and a 5" square from each fabric too. The 5" squares will go into my charm square pile - I have a plan, and the 2.5" were just because - maybe hexagons? Until I laid them out to have a look, and this cushion cover was born. I need to quilt it, but there are so many options!

You can never have too many cushions! Have you been having a happy patchwork weekend?

p.s.apologies for phone photos - although I know where my camera is, the cable to charge it remains elusive!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

WIP Wednesday [La Passacaglia]

Better late than never...I finally succumbed and started my version of La Passacaglia. I was put off this project originally by all the fantastic fussy cutting going on on Instagram... you know who you are. It's not that I'm against fussy cutting, it's just that in general I don't have a very fussy-cuttable stash.

But I started my Patchwork of the Crosses quilt amidst equally fabulous fussy-cutting and decided not to bother, so I don't know what was stopping me with this one. So when Paper Pieces had one of the lovely sales, I caved and bought the book and the starter pack of papers.

Once I'd unpacked my stash I set about picking fabrics for the first cog, and I found that although I don't have fabrics with motifs or great big florals to cut and create kaleidoscopes with, I have a fair few stripes in my collection, and even blenders can be fussy cut... those metallic Xs are from a Cotton and Steel basic!

But I made a decision whilst basting this first cog: by chance, my star points are a solid. And they will be in every cog because no way am I fussy cutting up to 50 star points per cog... nope!

I am loving this project so far - the fussy cutting isn't working out perfectly, but once I have a full quilt, in maybe ten or twenty years, will I really notice?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes [May Goal]

To make a change, I've decided to may my May goal a "catch-up" goal rather than a "finish" goal. I have plenty of incentive to finish up some projects thanks to the Finish Along, but I'm in danger of slipping behind with the Moccasin BOM as I missed out on April due to the move...

So my goal for May is to add to January, February and March, pictured in this post.

I need to complete three blocks - 2 from April and 1 from May

None are particularly complex, but it's really important for me that I don't fall behind!

Linking up
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