Monday 29 September 2014

Peg Bag for small washes

My mum recently asked me for a peg bag for her new washing line.  I've never made one before but ploughed on anyway, making it up as I went along.

I started by quilting some panels and then sewing a porthole oval for the peg opening, crossing my fingers that it would work.  My top tip for an oval porthole is to use the piece of cardboard from the opening of a Kleenex box as your template.

The porthole was a success but after a few other numpty mistakes (I'm blaming my lurgy brain) the bag had to be cut shorter than planned.  So, it's a successful peg bag but I hope mum doesn't have too many pegs since it's a bit vertically challenged!

This project has been another stash raider.  The Debbie Mumm bird houses fabric was used in my handstitched hexie quilt and has been hanging around since before I knew how to use my sewing machine (13yrs I think).

Saturday 27 September 2014


This week I stitched and stitched and stitched until 108 small blocks became this colourful Sparkling Gemstones quilt -

Kaffe Fassett quilts are very often not really my thing, but this one captivated me the first time I saw it in the book, and although I have had misgivings along the way (like, what possessed me to but these fabrics?) I'm glad I've finally stitched them up.

It's colourful and full on but I think the cream picture frame borders help to "control" it for me.  I used a very old inhabitant of my stash for those picture frame borders and it's not a flat solid, more of a shadowed effect (not quite as heavy as marbled).  Again, I probably wouldn't buy this fabric today, but it works really well in this quilt and isn't quite as stark as a plain solid.

Good to be stash raiding!  What's hiding in your stash that has waited long enough to be put to use?

Monday 22 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Around the World Blog Hop.  Kindly nominated by the sweet Collette who sews and teaches over there in Bonnie Scotland, I hope you'll enjoy spending a few minutes to learn more about the why and how of why I do what I do here in this stitchy corner of my life.

1.  What am I working on?
Um ... do I need to pick one thing or should I admit that actually in my WIPs box I currently have 3 quilts started, 2 quilts cut and a number of small projects loitering between them?  Okay then, let me show you these two as they are the ones I'm busiest with just now.

This is my Kaffe Fasset Sparkling Gemstones quilt which I am desperately trying to get into rows and bordered in the next 10 days.  I am enjoying the vivid saturated colours even though I wouldn't normally say they were my "thing".

This is a baby boy quilt which I am feeling a little undecided on just now but am pushing ahead anyway.  My hope is that once I alternate more of these wonky star blocks with the 9 patches it will deal with my reservations so far.  Cross your fingers for me!

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This questions sounds a little bit grand for me, I think, because I'm not sure that my work is so different from others.  I enjoy being inspired by what I see happening in the quilting world through various social media sites, and, while I don't always jump on the bandwagon the minute it's passing, all those designs and fabric vogues can certainly be found to influence what works its way out in my later creations.  I don't think I'm in this to be different, just to find what styles suit me and I think I'm learning that often that's a little bit of this and that, a modern/traditional mix up.

3.  Why do I write/create what I do?
Since my aunt taught me to knit when I was about 7 years old I have been in love with making things with stitches.  I taught myself to cross-stitch and embroider and then to EPP and crochet and eventually found myself with a sewing machine I could really only mess around on due to lack of skill and knowledge.  So, I attended some classes, tucked the techniques and new skills under my belt and have never looked back.  Creating with stitches is honestly pure pleasure for me (even through the tricky bits).

Being even more honest, stitching is good for my soul and my head.  A year or so ago my son made me the icon above for my blog sidebar and it's not wrong.  This hobby really does give me time and space to keep myself together.  It allows me headspace from the routine and pressures of everything else that's going on.  At times, sewing has also been a lifesaver from loneliness providing focus and creativity in empty times and spaces.  Thankfully, sewing has also brought me connection especially through classes and blogging and latterly through Instagram.  It's nice to connect with like-minded crafty people and I am very grateful for the generous, creative community out there and the folks who have become real friends as a result.  I never imagined that!  So if you want someone to argue for the mental health benefits of creative hobbies, I'm your girl!

4.  How does my writing/creative process work?
In orderly fashion, of course!  Those of you familiar with me through this space will know I like to be organised and get a bit flustered when I'm not (that goes for the rest of my life too).  "OCD-ish" is how I like to think of it!

Mostly, I like to take my ideas and shape them into designs and to do lists so that things are nice and controlled.  I love calculating quilt measurements and getting everything 'just so' before I begin methodically working through the stages of the project.  However, I haven't completely escaped the creative wandering spirit that becomes diverted by some new inspiration mid-project and then, yes, I make another set of plans and designs and lists!  I'm radical like that! ;-)  It also explains the 5 quilts mentioned in answer no 1!

So now you know a wee bit more about me, wouldn't you like to hop along and hear about another stitcher?  Annabella lives and blogs from Marrakech and I love her sense of colour and scale and I have to confess, I am also in love with the glimpses of beautiful tiled floor that occasionally peep out from behind her quilt pics too!  Hop on over to Life's Rich Pattern and read all about it next Monday!

I apologise now to the Around the World Blog hop folks that I have been unable to find the requisite three bloggers to pass this hop on to, but hopefully even a little hop at a time will be able to keep things moving.  Thank you Annabella for allowing me to hop over to you!

Saturday 20 September 2014

The biggest TA DA!

At the end of June I showed you my Ruby quilt top all sewn together.  Strictly speaking this top has a number of Bonnie and Camille lines in it - Ruby, Marmalade and Vintage Modern - but it will always be known to me as my Ruby quilt.

Anyway, I took one look at that quilt top laid across my bed and thought "there's no way my quilting skills could do justice to a quilt top of this size in my most favourite ever fabrics."  Enter a fleeting thought of sending it to Trudi for some long armed magic.  Fold quilt top up and continue to have fleeting thoughts of sending to Trudi all day long!  Quick em to Trudi and a plan was set in motion.

Best quilting decision ever!

My quilt came back a little while ago and I have been trying to bind and label it so I can show it off you.  Ready to see the quilting magic of Trudi?

Ta da!  I could stare at this quilt ALL day.  No joke.

Here's a close up of the swirly flowery pattern she quilted.  I'm not sure what Trudi calls this but I think I'm going with 'Flower Power' because of the floral-esque look coupled with some mussel type paisley thingies - so, flowers + muscle = flower power. Random thinking, but if you fancy this design on your quilt tell her to do it like mine!

You get a clearer picture from this photo of the back.

I know it's very fashionable to piece a backing for our quilts these days but very often I just like a plain backing, and it was definitely the right move for a quilt which was long arm quilted.  The quilting shows up so beautifully when unbroken by the patchwork of fabrics as it is on the front, and it sort of feels like two quilt for the price of one!

For me, long arm quilting isn't an option for every quilt but I will NEVER regret sending this one off for some Trudification.  She made the whole process so easy and such fun by surprising me with sneak peeks of the work in progress on Instagram.  Honestly, I had been so teased with pics that by the time this poor man arrived

I was practically giddy with excitement and almost mugged him!

On a personal note, I have been very affected by the return of my quilt.  In a million years I never expected to have such an emotional reaction to it and am not sure I can fully explain it.  I have met Trudi and she is the loveliest, most generous person and we have talked for a number of years through our blog comments and now IG.  She feels like a friend.  She is a seriously talented lady, you can see that for yourself, and it feels like such a privilege to have had her work on my quilt top.  So much so, that she's a part of the history of this quilt that I love so much and I've recorded that little bit of history on the label too - tempting as it is to let future generations think I did this amazing work myself!

So there you have it, my biggest "ta da".  Thank you lovely Trudi for working your magic and bringing my quilt to life.

Seriously folks, if you ever wonder about whether to send your quilt for long arm quilting and can afford to - just do it.  Trudi's a busy lady but book your quilt in ahead of time and relax knowing your quilt couldn't be in better hands.

This quilt finish is also a FAL finish for Quarter 3.  Doesn't feel quite right to claim it since Trudi did the hard part so I won't enter it in the draw at the end of the quarter but I can still most definitely declare it as a finish from my list!

Thursday 18 September 2014

Quilt Now BOM - part 2

One afternoon this week I took a couple of hours to catch up on the Quilt Now Block of the Month programme.  You know, before the third part lands through the letter box and accuses me of being behind!!

It's a skill builder mystery BOM and Issue 2's skill was freezer paper piecing.  Not entirely sure this method is for me, but that's the thing about a skill builder, it's a great way to try new techniques to see for yourself.  I know lots of other people who love the freezer paper method but while I could do it again if I had to, I don't think it'll be my first port of call for a technique.

I had a few issues that raised a giggle or two on IG - short curves, long curves and back to front birdies!  Not entirely sure my head was right on Tuesday afternoon!

Eventually I got my act together and things happened as they should (sort of)!

Then there was the small matter of making three more!  To be honest there is no way these would all go together to form perfect circle if they had to, but thankfully they don't have to, so I'm hoping whatever is up Reene's sleeve for the next part of the BOM will allow me a little "wiggle" room.

This my BOM story so far. I'm curious what is going to be next, aren't you?  If you have the magazines, why not play catch up now and join us, we need some more peeps keeping us company as we learn our new skills and uncover the mystery design of the project.  Go on, you know you want to!  (You will find us at hashtag quiltnowbom on IG).

Finally, just to tease you, here's a wee shot of my current binding project.  Oh, how I can't wait to give you the big reveal!

Saturday 13 September 2014

Stash Raider

De-cluttering of any kind always feel like a relief to me and in the sewing room it is no different.  This summer I have methodically been culling, condensing and re-arranging my supplies.  While I was clearing out I realised that my stash is really a bit bigger than I need or indeed want to have stored in the room, so I am on a mission now to reduce what has grown by using it up.

I am not declaring a fabric purchasing ban, especially as a new Bonnie & Camille range is just about to hit the shops,  but I am going to raid my stash as much as possible for the projects I have on my list for the next few months.

So here's what I've raided so far:

  • fabrics for Reene's Mystery BOM in the Quilt Now Magazine
  • fabrics for finishing the Sparkling gemstones quilt with Kaffe Fassett fabrics (hopefully enough for backing too)
  • a package of fabrics to finish the Apple Core EPP quilt top
  • pack already cut for a pixellated heart baby girl quilt
  • selection of fqs to cut a baby boy quilt from
  • a basket of fabrics for making three gift cushions - I think there will be enough for the backings of the cushions too


Here's a wee peek at the cutting I've already done for the three butterfly cushions:

I think this is a great start to my stash raiding, now I just need to get sewing!!

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Sew Together Bag

I never did quite get back to you at the weekend about my next matchstick quilting project, but there is IG evidence to prove that I did actually get it finished over the weekend.  Huge thanks to my IG cheerleaders whose encouragement kept me at it.

Want to see what I made?

First of all, let me tell you that back in the summer the very sweet Rachel from The Floral Suitcase sent me all her Bonnie and Camille scraps when she was having a clear out.  Isn't that lovely of her?  Wonder how she knew I love B&C? ;-)

So, I decided a little gift of thanks was in order but with hols and school starting back and all sorts of other dull stuff I only just got around to making her a little something this weekend.  I thought I would tackle the Sew Together Bag pattern as it's such a handy bag and I LOVE the one I was gifted and use it all the time.

Things got in a bit of a muddle but thankfully the Quilt Barn's Sew Together Bag Sew Along came to the rescue and things started to take shape.

The sew a long posts are a valuable additional resource if you are thinking of working with this pattern (esp if you are a visual learner).  All my zippy bits lined up nicely.

The matchstick quilted panel forms the outer of the bag and gives is quite a bit of structure.  I was really pleased with my effort, especially the scary binding part.

I didn't do a perfect job but I'm sure Rachel will forgive the wibbles here and there and enjoy filling it full of all her sewing gadgets and notions.

Thank you for your kindness Rachel - I will have lots of fun working your scraps into my future B&C projects.

Oh yes, and I may have started another bag with more matchstick quilting.  This one is a secret so shhhhh!!!!

Thursday 4 September 2014

Matchstick quilting

A little trouble with some thread over the summer resulted in exuberant testing of the thread feed once I'd finally been pointed in the right direction by those with greater knowledge than me. The exuberant testing accidentally became lines of matchstick quilting which I really loved. But I couldn't quite bring myself to throw away the little tester, so this week I used it as the backing on a new pincushion.
I rather think I'm more fond of the bottom than I am of the top of this pinnie which is also a test piece. It was a tester of the disappearing four patch block back when I was making my large cushion. Pretty enough itself, but I am rather taken obsessed by the matchstick quilting. A new pincushion was long overdue so I'm chuffed with this new addition to my sewing table, and using up what has been lying around for some time.

Inspired by the matchstick quilting, I have been whizzing up and down this lovely grey Essex linen with a variegated aqua thread. I hope to show you more of this later in the weekend (though that may be being a little optimistic given current productivity levels).

Monday 1 September 2014

Bee Blessed - September 2014

I am sailing, I am sailing, home again, 'cross the sea ...

Just wanted to put that song in your head before you head off to stitch up our Bee Blessed block for September.  Yes, I know you will be cursing me will be when you are still singing it inwardly at midnight ;-)

So, yes here it is, September's Bee Blessed block - a little sailing boat:

The instructions for the block are here.  Please use a solid white background for the sky and a blue of some sort for the sea.  You can have fun with your boat and sails in any colours you like.  As Judith points out, you might find it easier to make the HSTs from 4" cut squares rather than the 3 7/8" squares suggested in the pattern.

I am sailing stormy waters, to be near you, to be free ...

Happy stitching!!  This block is a lot of fun to make.

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