Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap

A little while ago I signed up for a mini quilt swap. You can read the initial blog post here.

My partner is an English lady living in Europe and I stalked her blog and Instagram photos to find out a little more about her. She had been clear about what she doesn't like and it wasn't difficult to see where she was coming from!

I had a fantastic excuse to purchase some Kate Spain fabric as she lists that among her likes, along with colour references of blues, greens and greys.

As I have already posted this to her I thought I would add a photo of the finished article:
I'm glad she liked it, it was great fun making it!

Monday, 10 August 2015

I'm a Mad Hatter ...

A little while ago I came across this pattern for a reversible bucket hat from Liesl at Oliver + S. I think it came from her book Little Things To Sew originally but is now available as a downloadable PDF.

At first I thought I would just make 2, for my friend Emma's two young boys, but I found I couldn't stop once I started! I've made loads now and I'm really pleased with how easily they come together!
I like them particularly because they only use about a fat quater for each side and they are equally fun in boys or girls fabrics! I've been told they are a great fit and that they stay on nicely with just enough cover from the brim to shade eyes from the sunshine ... when we get it.

I just love all the fresh colours that give these hats a modern twist ... gone are the days of white, cream or khaki!

I have seen some great fabric choices out there like this photo for the here-fishy-fishy-fishy version by Vanessa at Punkin Patterns. I've seen a couple of tutorials for the pattern too. 

My tips would be simple, sew a basting line around the base of the cap side panels (at a scant 1/2") and clip there (not the brim as suggested in step 5). Once it is sewn to the brim you can then clip it,  I find this provides a more graceful curve!

Have fun and let me know how you get on ... I'm including these in my OPAM challenge for August. I have completely forgotten about posting all the things I have finished over the last few months - I'm blaming life taking over!

Friday, 27 February 2015

One Project a Month (OPAM)

I came across this challenge through my quilting friend Celine. Amazingly we've both been doing similar things this month, including Elsa dresses.

Basically, you are trying to complete at least one project a month .... hence the title. No pressure but lots of fun and links to other crafty bods and blogs!

It's being hosted by Kris of Tag Along Teddies and Peg of Happy in Quilting who have been running the OPAM challenge for a few years, although I have only just come across it.

This month I have completed a few projects and made progress on some others. Here's a photo of the Elsa dress I made for my youngest niece. I am hoping I will have a better picture soon! 
At least this photo shows up the sparkly fabric but I haven't added the ice cloak! Unfortunately the very pretty silver lace started to detatch from its own edging within minutes of being tried on. I have now located something a little more robust but with a similar theme ... the job now will be to get the dress back!

It's been a busy month:

Nick's had surgery and is now recovering well. 
Kids had half term during which we went to a medieval 'Skill Share' event and caught up with some more 'distant' relatives which was lovely along with visiting grandparents and hosting copious numbers of teenage girls.
The bathroom is almost finished following a complete remodelling.
I have started a new job (working with the team I worked for before the Improvement Academy) which is going to be interesting. We're housed in a newly refurbished building, which has some very pretty architectural elements. 
I have helped my lovely SIL Jo with the beginning of a pinwheel baby quilt for her niece's baby due in late spring. She's using some of a charm pack called Sophie by Chez Moi which is a lovely choice of fabric. 
And Alex has had her first orthodontic appliance fitted on the start of what is going to be a 2 year journey! She can't currently bite a sandwich as her front teeth don't meet in the middle which makes her quite self conscious at times (it gives her a little bit of a lisp as a result) but her teeth are all perfect otherwise. Obviously the lisp has got much worse with the brace but she's coped with the first few days quite well and is positive, despite needing to keep topped up with painkillers.

Hopefully it will be a slightly quieter March!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I'm Queen Bee again!

Believe it or not, I am Queen Bee for both January (the Modern Bee Instabee) and for February as part of the Little Blogs Quilt Bee.

For February I have asked Jacquelynne Steves of The Art of Home if I can use her #SewSweetSimplicity blocks as the basis for my choice for the LBQB.

Jacquelynne has been running a Sew Sweet Simplicity block of the month sew-along. You might have seen her "Catch Up Sew-Along Day" on the 7th January 2015 ... it was fun to watch what was happening through the Instagram feeds. I didn't get a chance to join in with the sewing as we were hosting some friends from Poland but I did sneak a peek from time to time through the evening!


I think the blocks have a real country feel and I love the way she has provided embroidery designs for the centre of each of the blocks in her version of the quilt. You can get a better look at how these have been replicated if you search the #SewSweetSimplicity hashtag on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and Twitter.

So I would like me LBQB buddies to make me a block from this set of blocks, with white as a background fabric.

Each of the blocks requires 4 colours in various shapes configurations, I would like these to be a mixture of small print and plain fabrics in Navy (for the main contrast instead of the red) and 3 other softer focus fabrics (similar to the pink, green and lemon fabrics in Jacquelynne's blocks).

How the colours are configured I don't mind, the blocks are bound to look lovely however the colours are placed. I would love ginghams, spots, paisley and ditsy floral prints ... there are some amazing softer focus fabrics from Tilda ranges (just Google them) but there are lots of lovely choices out there!

I can supply you with some fabrics if you would like so there is no need to feel stuck. Just message me or comment below!

To download the Sew Sweet Simplicity block of the month patterns you will need to follow the link and sign up here.

Meanwhile Nick has a chest infection and my daughter Alex has tonsilitis again ... and the bathroom looks like this:

 Hopefully by the end of next week it will look radically different!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Finish Along 2015 Quarter 1

Last year I joined in the 2014 Finish Along hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle, although I missed the sign up for a few of the quarters it did make me list and complete some of my works in progress (WIPs).

I felt motivated to try again this year with the 2015 Finish Along (FAL 2015) now being hosted by Adrianne at On the Windy Side a reference to Wellington, NZ where she lives and apparently it is windy! The rules for the challenge are here: FAL 2015

The 2015 Finish-Along Link
The idea is to list your WIPs (proposed finishes) at the beginning of the quarter and link to Adrianne's 'linky party'. Then, during the quarter as you complete your projects you can blog about them or post photos on Instagram or Flickr linking back to the 'finish linky party' at the end of the quarter.

So without further a do here is my list (some of which have rolled over from previous WIP lists):

1) Alex's hexie quilt: Some of these hexagons were started nearly 40 years ago by my hubby's mum. She died too young in early '82 and I was given the unfinished hexagons and cardboard templates during a clearing out session a few years ago. It is a finished top now (which is progress from 2014) we have chosen a backing fabric but I have not bought the batting yet.

2) Paletina pillow: This shouldn't be too difficult, the front is finished, everything is cut out. I have the zip and just need to sew it all together .... not sure where it is hiding at the moment!

3) Alex's curtains: Because I broke my elbow last year we managed without these and I sort of forgot they needed doing until recently. I love the material from Laura Ashley. It is called Bacall and is in the apple 
colour way. Not a good photo, it's all in a plastic bag. I need a whole weekend to spread out on the kitchen table so this won't get finished anytime soon!

4) Maddie's Cardigan: Knitted and partly sewn up, the project isn't finished as I'm not happy with the edge of the hood, so I've had to pull it out and need to reknit it on smaller needles. I need a couple of evenings to get this finished ... and some motivation which has escaped me!

5) Maddie's 'Frozen' costume. I have the fabric and a pattern ... just need to get started.

6) Draft excluder: A prototype I started to test out the heat 'n' bond. I have the houses appliquéd but have not completed the details on the doors and windows so they need doing before I can sew it up and use it. I like it so far ...

7 - 11 are based on a design from Kellie at Don't Look Now called Worry Dolls I have cut out all the little people resembling my nieces and nephews to make them cushions:

7) Stanley's cushion: A footballer to go in his bedroom.

8) Arthur's cushion: A footballer to go in his bedroom.

9) Georgiana's cushion: A girl (looks like her).

10) Maddie's cushion: A girl (made from fabric from her baby clothes).

11) Thomas's cushion: A footballer - Thomas is my colleagues little boy, he's nearly 4.

12) Georgiana's cardigan: Started about 8 years ago this will no longer fit my daughter so it's heading for my niece. It just needs a ribbon and some appliqué flowers. I hope it doesn't take me another 8 years to finish! 

13) Puddlejumper 1: Started last year, I was really happy with this - until my niece tried it on. She's long in the body and it was clear this was going to be too small for her to wear over warm clothes, so it got abandoned. This photo was taken at the cutting out phase:

14) Puddlejumper 2: Started last year at the same time as the one above, all I did was cut this out. It got packed away with the one above and I forgot about it until I found it the other day. I have someone in mind for this but have not dug it out yet.

15) Daisy Kingdom coat: This Simplicity pattern (2778 on the left) was one I fell in love with and bought several years ago but I could never find double sided fleece. When pink/orange reversible fabric turned up in a local store (The Shuttle) I bought it and then couldn't locate where I had kept the pattern! I think the design is the same as pattern 4515 (on the right) which is shown in the type of fleece I have bought. I know a couple of folks have made it already and it looked great (some Flickr photos of Charity's coat).

  Fleece Coat  4515 Simplicity size 5-6-7-8 lots of nice details. 2005 Daisy Kingdom

16) Fingerless gloves: I have started these in a lovely soft Alpaca wool and have got them almost finished ...

17) My contribution to the UK Mini Quilt Swap, one of a couple of swaps I am in.

18) My contribution to the Rainbow Mini Quilt Swap, another one of my current swaps.  

19) Wigwam: I must get round to making a few of these for the summer. I have some fabric and plans in my head but have not yet drafted the pattern. I feel excited about this but I know it will take up a fair bit of space to 'manufacture' them. This photo came from a Laura Ashley photo shoot and was in the 2009 catalogue .... doesn't it make you feel like packing up for a picnic? 

la camping

20) Georgiana's cape: Alex has one that she loves and would like her cousin to have one to dress up with her in when they go 'adventuring' in the garden. The Vogue pattern needs adapting slightly for size but the fabric and trimmings are ready.

21) Postage stamp quilt: for years I have been 'salvaging' 2" squares from scraps of material that are left from other projects or are simply not big enough to make anything else from. I'd love to turn these into a quilt similar to Red Pepper's quilt in this link Postage Stamp Quilt Tutorial. She made hers from strips.

22) William's quilt: This was started over two years ago with the intention of it being ready for my son's new room. I did not have a studio at the time and it came out in the bedroom occasionally if I could set up a space to work in, or I would take it on holiday. It has been stored away waiting for me to get back to it, I have a ton of excuses as to why it has not been first on my list however it is denim and heavy so since I broke my elbow last year I have done very little with it. He was away for the summer months of 2014 in Michigan at Indian Trails Camp and I had hope to complete it for his return - it didn't happen! I'll have to attempt it soon.

23) Baby quilt 1: I heard a while ago that one of my neighbours has adopted a baby boy. This baby quilt has now been cut out in some cute Urban Patch fabrics and strung together but I still need to complete the piecing of the top and make it into a quilt.

24) Baby quilt 2: A month or so ago I also found out that an old colleague of mine, now living in Cyprus, had a baby girl. She sent me a picture and I couldn't believe how much I missed her. Don't you just love an excuse to make a baby gift? I have not yet completed the top but it's a girly version of the one above!

25) My 'afternoon tea' quilt. similar to the one I made for my Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap partner, but in brighter colours.

26) Some pot mitts for friends and family - including our special folks in the USA and I need to make a tutorial too and post it here.

This will definitely be enough to keep me going ... It will be great having an additional incentive to get things done!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

It's my time to be the Queen Bee!

Late in the spring of last year (2014) I joined the Modern Instabee quilting block swap based on the Modern Bee: 13 Quilts to Make with Friends book by Lindsey Conner. It's a really great book with lots of handy hints and tips as well as a great variety of blocks to choose!

12 people from the UK made up the second 'hive' through Instagram and I ended up connecting again with Nessa who I already knew, of Nessa's Place (@nessahux on Instagram) along with some new Instagram-ers ....

Amie (@sew_much_havoc)
Becca (@bexbriscoe)
Brenda (@brendaclough)
Carol (@muckerbee)
Kerry (@kezstar4)
Sian (@sian1505)
Sonja (@sonjap74)
Toni (@tonileggate1)
Tracey (@tracym2433)
Victoria (@victoriangw1)

We started in June 2014 with the intention of putting some of the easier blocks in the book at the beginning of the swap.

Amie who blogs over at Sew Much Havoc (@sew_muc_havoc) went first in June and this is the mosaic tile block I made for her:

This was a nightfall blue background which she posted out to us all for continuity with red, yellow and turquoise colours in the different sections.

Carol requested the Bluebell's cabin block in July, this was made out of scraps in different colours with white as a base:

Toni sent us all her fabric for the Come Together block for August and her fabric selection included 'Patio Lights' by Kayajoy for Michael Miller which I adore!

Kayajoy's Patio Lights (Flight Pattern collection)
This block was huge and differs slightly from the shape in the book as well.
Sadly I think the bold solid colours  overpower the delicate watercolour details of the patterned fabric. 

In September it was Victoria's turn and she opted for Stacked Windmills, in pink, purple or lilac and requested we added butterflies into the design using our fabric choices. You can't see the butterflies very well her but they are there I promise!

In October Cordelia's Garden block was requested by Kerry. With a colour palette of navy blue, lemon and turquoise/aqua based on a light grey background (which she sent to us all) she got an interesting mixture of different looks to the blocks she received. Here's the one I made with navy as the main colour:

Nessa also sent us background fabric for her Cordelia's Garden block in November. It was a light green Oakshott fabric and she asked us all to choose one colour or tone (in floral prints) to make our block so that each would look like a flower. I saw a number of 'flowers' created before I made Nessa's block so that I could avoid duplicating her colours. I decided to go for green and to fussy cut it to try to make it slightly less angular, this is how it turned out:

December is always a really busy month and Sonja was well organised and sent her white background fabric out in plenty of time for the Triple Star she had chosen. We were each allowed to choose a colour, I was happy to do any colour and I was allocated pale pink (insert *mini squeal* of joy here).

Having made the Triple Star block a few times I have decided this is by far my favourite! I polished this off in next to no time and loved breaking out all my Tilda fabrics for Sonja:

For some reason I had always consulted an older version of the spreadsheet which had months missing from the plan ... so January crept up on me without me realising it was my turn!

I have shared my request for the Trellis Crossroads block: I would love this block to be made with pale or mid-tone greys and pale pinks. The fabrics can be made of any patterns - floral, plain, striped but I have asked people to refrain from the novelty type fabric prints like clowns or dogs.

I also promised to send the background fabric out .... oops ... this will have to go in the post on Monday! 

For the Trellis Crossroad block one of my Quilty Sisters, Cassie (@hillcass) has written an excellent tutorial for the block on her website It is not an easy block and these instructions and her great photos along with details as to how to mark your ruler with washi tape (to help you get the angles correct) are marvellous!

The direct link to Cassie's tutorial is here: Trellis Crossroads block tutorial 

Another one of my Quilty Sisters, Fiona (@bendigolioness) has lots of these and wrote a post about them with some great photos of blocks made by and for her. Check out her post here: Fiona's Block Swap

I hope the UK Hive 2 enjoy this month!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Swapping fun

I have recently signed up for a couple of Quilty Mini Swaps which I have always found to be great fun. It's a wonderful excuse to do something a little bit different to blocks and personal projects and widens the quilty horizons!

One of the new swaps I have joined is the UK Mini Swap. It is hosted by the lovely Nina (@BossyOz on Instagram) and I am linked up with Heidee once again as she is my 'swap mamma'. 

This is my swap 'button'
I won Heidee's foxy giveaway back in the autumn and she sent me a wonderful package of quilty treats!

All the information for the swap is shared here on Nina's blog.

I am delighted to be a 'swap mamma' for one of the UK Mini Swap teams.
A 'swap mamma' supports the swap members,  acting as a point of contact for queries (and holds the swap partner information) which can help spread the load from the swap owner. This is particularly helpful in large swaps and when key milestones are reached like the initial swapping of partner information and posting the finished item.

I have also joined the Rainbow Mini Swap, which has us all making rainbow themed mini quilts and is the brain child of Kate Basti (@katebasti on Instagram). Kate also has a shop on Etsy selling her creations: StitchNKitsch and she is based in Ohio so it's an international swap.

I was inspired to go for a Ferris Wheel pattern for this swap, by something one of my swap buddies said about patchworking (English Paper Piecing). 

It's made up of 3 shapes: hexagons, triangles and squares. These can be used to create 'wheels' - here I have used brightly coloured fabrics to highlight the pattern with a black/white background and outer edge. I have a few more edging pieces to add in this photo and then I'm on the the next step. It's a work in progress but I'm pleased with it so far: 

I'm planning to post a tutorial for the Ferris Wheel pattern .... watch this space!

My partners are going to stay a secret .... I know who I am making my quilts for and they have provided me some clues as to what they like, including some of their favourite quilting inspiration and a little about themselves.