Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Sew much for that

By today Christmas already feels like a while ago, but just before the start of 2015 I would like to show off some of the Christmas gifts I made and received.  I've seen a lot of blogs recently with sewn pouches which have been given as gifts.  For the first time in my life I am part of a trend as I made plenty of these for gifts as well.

First up are three of the Liberty pouches I made.  This one is a Kindle case and I love all the Liberty blues with the gingham interior.  Classy and timeless, I think.

Next up are purple make up bags.  I used some of the same fabrics in them but the different zips and inner fabrics give the bags a different feel.  The top one with the deep purple is really vibrant.  The bottom one has a lilac zip and inner and it feels a lot calmer.

 I also made a glasses case for one of my uncles, who is notorious for losing his glasses.  He is also an allotmenter, so this gardening fabric is just perfect.  This could be my all time favourite fabric.  It's by Alexander Henry and is called "Little Green".  It came out in 2011 (before I had even been on a sewing machine) and I have sought it out on many occasions, only to be told you can't get hold of any more of it.  I love it so much!  I really wish they would bring it out again; I would buy metres a bolt and make so many lovely things with it.  The fabric also has ladybirds, and I love those little critters.

I received lots of lovely presents but the sewing ones are worth sharing here.  I got a couple of notebooks, which I love for writing down my ideas and inspiration.  (Thanks Amy and Lorraine.)  I also got some sewing chocolates from Nicola (thank you!) which not only looked great but tasted yummy, too.

 Lorraine also bought me some Liberty squares and a Liberty pouch.  I was thrilled with both.  I have a lot of Liberty fabric, but I am always happy to add to it and there were loads of fabrics in this pack that I don't have and (shock horror!) there are even some I don't know the name of!

 I hope you all had a nice Christmas and have an enjoyable 2015.  I'll see you next year!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

It's beginning to look...

a little like Christmas.

All I seem to show on here at the moment are Christmas projects, which probably gives you the impression that I am ready and raring for Christmas and loving the festive period.  Nothing could be further from the truth - I haven't bought a single present, I've not written even one card, and yet despite being so behind in my preparations I have found time to make a couple more Christmas projects.

First up is this table runner.  I worked on this at the weekend with some friends.  This star had originally been a cushion made from orange colours and I think it was called "Tropical Star".  (I forget from which magazine).  It was a lovely cushion but we decided to jazz it up and to turn it into a festive table runner.  I am so pleased with it.  It's definitely all about the fabric and I love the richness of the purple and red here.  I quilted some of the key shapes in gold thread to make it even more glitzy.  I already had a nice Christmas table runner which I made last year, but it has already had to be replaced with this one.  Maybe they will appear alternate Christmases.

I'm really beginning to enjoy foundation piecing and I want to have a go at designing a pattern of my own next year.  You get such lovely points and you can't really go wrong because the numbers tell you what to do.

The second project my sister-in-law has requested I make for her mother-in-law (still with me?)  In typical fashion I am helping other people with their Christmas gifts instead of my own.  She wanted an elephant iPad case and I had some lovely scraps from Christopher's baby quilt.  It was nice for me to use up these bits of fabric and create a pretty gift in the process.  I think it will make a nice gift.  If not, I'll just have to keep it for myself.

I hope your Christmas preparation is going well.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sunday Stash #5

I have a couple of recent purchases to show off today.

The first was bought on Black Friday.  I watched people on the news getting into scuffles for a flat screen tv and wondered how people could work themselves into such a frenzy.  Then on my twitter feed I saw Eternal Maker's 15% off everything Black Friday deal and just had to join in.  This is an Aurifil Basics Collection and as many of the threads are so muted they can be used to quilt lots of different projects.  The pink you see was not in the original collection, but the lady phoned me to say they had sold out of one of the greys so she let me choose something else instead.  Baby pink is always going to be useful for me.  I've already made a start with one of the threads, but I know it will take me a while to use them all.

This rather large collection of Christmas fabrics is by Lynette Anderson and is called Candy Cane Angels.  I was pondering whether to buy these fabrics for a while and finally decided to take the plunge.  There are 25 fabrics in total and there is a fat eighth of each, which is enough to make a nice Christmas quilt, but not too much as to feel overwhelmed with Christmas fabrics.  These colours are so muted for me, but I think I can make something really cute with these and I think I am going to keep the colours in their three groups, though I have no other design ideas than that at the moment.

Enjoy Sunday!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Townscapes course by Gillian Travis

Last month I attended an amazing course at The Bramble Patch.  (I'm sorry for only getting around to blogging about it now.)  It was quite a journey for me and my friend Rachel.  Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am a home bird.  I like being at home and in Sheffield and I don't like travelling.  I love to visit different places but I find long journeys off-putting, so Rachel did a good job of convincing me that the two and a half hours on the motorway would be worth it.

Rachel was so right!  The course was inspiring and I learned lots.  Gillian's work is like nothing else and it was clear to see why she has won awards and why she tutors around the world.  My favourite piece she showed us was of Yorkshire, so this was literally "right up my street."  Please check out Gillian's other work here.

She really encouraged us to have a go and taught us how to break down a townscape.  I felt exhausted at the end of it.

One of my most favourite places in the world is Whitby in North Yorkshire.  It's about three hours to get there, but that's one journey that never bothers me because I know what awaits me when I get there is nothing but bliss.  I went there in October with my husband and had as good a time as ever, so it was clear that I would work on a Whitby landscape on this course.

I tried to capture the Abbey, the Georgian houses (which I adore) and the fishermen's cottages on the cliffs.  My work looks nothing like Gillian's (wow is she talented!) but I think it's an acceptable first attempt and she did manage to get me to do some free motion embroidery (never an easy task!)

This is no where near finished but I am going to have to put it on the back burner for the time-being as I have lots of other sewing commitments at the moment.  It's definitely something I want to come back to, but I will need to have a day to myself and be in the "zone".

As for The Bramble Patch, it on its own was well worth the journey.  It is such an inspiring place - great teaching facilities, amazing fabrics, long arm quilters on the go and helpful staff.  It is clearly a destination shop and one I will be visiting again.  Inevitably I bought some bits and pieces and found some backing fabrics in the sale section.  I came home tired but inspired on lots of levels.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Kaleidoscopic cushion

I love quilting books and quilting magazines and will happily spend time browsing fabrics and design, but I very rarely make anything from them.  I think they provide me with ideas and inspiration which I then go on to use in my own projects.  But then I saw the most amazing Kaleidoscopic Quilt in issue 5 of Quilt Now and I knew I had to make it.

I love this quilt so much.  It's by Reene of Nellie's Niceties and I think it's a stunner.  I love the colours, the shapes and the fact it is made from scraps.  I have only done a little foundation piecing before, but it's definitely something I want to do more of and this pattern is great for a beginner.

With all my Christmas sewing there isn't time for me to make a big quilt at the moment, but I have found time to make a cushion front.  One of our cats, Jackson, has a dicky tummy and was sick on one of our cushions this week, so they are now out (I had gone off them in any case.)

The colours here are not my usual palette, but they will suit our brown sofas.  My autumnal colours give it such a different look and feel to Reene's.  I love the fact that most of the fabrics here are scraps, which otherwise had no destiny but which now are going to have a permanent home in our front room.

I am going to make a couple more cushions, which use the same fabrics but in a different order.  I will keep the cute little hedgehogs in the centre of them so all the cushions have something in common.  Also, I have to have a critter in the project somewhere.

It's not a true Friday finish, but I feel some sense of achievement.

Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum...

As it is now the end of November I feel justified in showing off some of my Christmas sewing.  I have attended two Christmas sewing workshops this month and have another one booked for mid December.  We don't go overboard at Christmas at our house but slowly we are starting to get some nice Christmas decorations together and more recently these have been made by me.  I like the idea of heirloom Christmas decorations which come out each year and then having the feeling of being reunited with an old friend.

First of all, here is my Christmas Tree wall hanging which I made with a group of friends at Patchwork Garden.  The pattern was written by Sarah Williamson and we had the privilege of her tuition as well.  The pattern is amazing and it was wonderful to see the different variations we all created.  Sarah is a super talented sewer, quilter and pattern-writer and she taught us lots of tips and tricks along the way.  We had a wonderful time and I am already keen to book onto another course with her.

This Christmas tree does not have traditional Christmas colours, but it will look perfect in our house at it matches a table runner and some bunting I made last year.  I wanted to create a "scene" so added blue fabric for a winter sky and white fabric with a silver print to create the look of snow.  I love the crispness of the look.  I then tarted it all up with plenty of ric rac and then buttons to look like baubles.  I did two "shadow" quilting lines around the tree in silver thread to give it that blinged look.  I need to put a star on to finish it, but I couldn't resist including it here today.

As if that wasn't enough, I have also attended an Advent Calendar class, again at Patchwork Garden.  A friend bought me the panel last year, but I did not get around to making it (and I also felt rather daunted as I was not as good a sewer then.)  I had so much fun making this and already want to make another one next year.  My mum loves traditional Christmas scenes (I usually spend lots of November and December hunting down nativity Christmas cards for her) so this will be going to her.  She loves Christmas decorations and will love putting gifts in for her grandchildren, especially as it tells the story of Christmas.

In typical fashion I have put quite a lot of quilting on here and could not resist gold thread to outline the stable, to include in the sand and to outline the star.  As it is a wall hanging I used a cheap man-made wadding, which was trickier to work with, but as it had greater "loft" (listen to me!) it gave the overall hanging more depth.  My mum will love this so it quickly needs to get in the post so she can start advent promptly.

I did both of these projects with sewing friends and sewing classes so it seems appropriate to link this blog post to Lorna McMahon's blog Sew Fresh Quilts who has a Wednesday "Let's Bee Social" link up.

Happy Advent!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sunday Stash #4

I haven't done a Sunday Stash for a while.  I have still been buying fabric but I have been slightly more reserved.  This Sunday Stash I'm only showing off the five fat quarters I bought, though it is likely I will add more of the range to my stash at a later date.

These fabrics are by Lynette Anderson and are part of her Pocketful of Daisies range.  They are just adorable!  I love the gentleness of the colours but the distinctiveness of the patterns.  Lynette Anderson is not a designer you will find in every fabric shop in the UK (probably as they start life in Australia) so it is great that they are available at Craft Den in Sheffield, which is a stone's throw from me!

My husband is really into allotment gardening and we have some great friends as a result.  I know that I will be using these fabrics soon to make Christmas gifts for them.  Just perfect!

Have a lovely Sunday!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Conquering 3D

Recently I've been making crafty things for sale at a friend's Christmas craft stall.  I've been doing my bit by making phone cases and these iPad cases:

I know that to most people these look a lot less complicated than my usual quilts, but I find anything 3D tricky.  My brain just cannot figure out what to do - there's just too much inside out and upside down and it messes with my head!  I think I've made about twenty cases in total now and I am now at the stage that I can make them without consulting the tutorial I made for myself, photo by photo, on my mobile phone.

I've really enjoyed making these iPad cases because I have worked with lots of different fabrics and put great combinations together of outside fabric, inside fabric and zips.  Here's hoping that people like my efforts and part with their money at the stall.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Scrapisfaction Quilt - Four Star Quilt

My obsession interest in scrappy quilts continues!  I enjoyed making my large scrappy star so much that I decided to make a quilt with four scrappy stars, though on a smaller scale.

I used the same technique as before, making a slab of fabric and then cutting it to make half square triangles and then doing piecing as you would in any other quilt.  It really is scrapisfying!

I have a lot of pink fabrics in my stash and use it regularly, which creates lots of lovely scraps.  I have seen other scrappy quilts which are very strict in their use of colour, but I like to put lots of different pinks side by side and even have plenty of white backgrounds as well.  The great thing about working with scraps is that it is much less controlled and the finished quilt a lot less predictable.

The quilting was easy and looks particularly good on the back.  I quilted the stars a couple of times and then quilted each of the eight points in each star individually.  This did create plenty of ends and the finishing off was tedious, but I can do that and justify watching tv.  On the front I quilted in a deep pink, but on the back I quilted with a variegated thread which goes from light baby pink to deep crimson.  I've used it plenty of times before and I think it makes the back that little more interesting.

Last month I linked up with Mrs Sew and Sow and who hosts a Scraptastic Tuesday along with She Can Quilt and I got lots of visitors and lovely comments.  I'm linking this blog post to Scraptastica Tuesday (yes, I do know it's Friday.)  Here's hoping the fellow scraptastic quilters like this quilt.  As it's also a Friday Finish, I am also linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Scraptastic Tuesday

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Ribbons Quilt: my pattern!

I seem to have been slack with my blogging recently, not because I haven't been sewing much, but because I have been doing so much sewing.  There is so much going on right now that it is going to take a few posts to explain everything.

Today's blog post is especially exciting for me because I get to show off my Ribbons Quilt and direct you to the pattern and tutorial I wrote.  I have mentioned this quilt pattern in a couple of previous blog posts but this week it was posted on The Village Haberdashery's blog The Daily Stitch.


It's called "Ribbons" because I used three colours and pieced them in such a way as to create ribbons of colour.  I was really keen to use the unicorns from Far Far Away in the blue, green and lilac colourways but the rest of the fabrics were picked out by the ladies at The Village Haberdashery and they did a great job!  The colours look fantastic together and in this pattern they all seem to shine.  This is the top pieced but not finished, but you get to see the pattern.

24 Pieced

The Half Rectangle Triangles took some working out.  I have previously used a Bloc Loc ruler to create them but I had to work out a different technique in order that anyone could make them without expensive equipment.  I made all of the HRTs using my own tutorial so I knew it could be done.

I really am proud of this quilt - I hope you like my efforts too.  Thank you for visiting.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival

In my last post I mentioned entering the Blogger's Quilt Festival with a new quilt.  I put myself under a lot of pressure to start a new scrappy quilt and have it finished for today, only to realise by about Wednesday that it does not have to be a new or previously unseen quilt!  Once I made this realisation it was clear what my entry would be and that I would ease off the new scrappy quilt (which was unlikely to get finished in any case.)

My entry is the Scrappy Star Quilt which made its debut here three weeks ago and received a lot of positive comments, which I was thrilled about.

The quilt was a spontaneous creation.  I started organising my scraps into colours and suddenly the idea for the quilt came into my mind.  I made slabs of fabric in distinct colour groups, then turned these into half square triangles and then pieced the quilt.  It was both fast and satisfying!  I think it's my favourite quilt for a while.

I am a massive fan of scrappy quilts because they become like a memory quilt of previous quilts.  I love playing "remember that project" with this quilt.

I did lots of quilting with my walking foot.  I quilted the star shape many times and then quilted the eight points of the star individually.  It has given the quilt a lovely feel and texture.

I really hope that other people like my scrappy quilt.  Now it's time for me to peruse other people's quilts and start voting.  What fun!  A massive thanks to Amy at Amy's Creative Side for hosting a great festival!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I read a lot of quilting blogs.  I love them!  There are just so many creative and inspiring people out there and I am curious about what they make and interested in what they have to say.  This weekend I have seen loads of quilts in the blogosphere mentioning the Blogger's Quilt Festival which is being hosted at Amy's Creative Side and I have now decided to participate.

I have a fortnight to submit two quilts in different categories.  It's an ambitious prospect, so I think I will only manage one quilt (especially as I am away for a few days and machine-less) but it looks fun to be part of and is a way of sharing my quilting ideas with a group of like-minded people.  I am already wondering which category to enter and which fabrics to use (though it's seems likely I will enter the Scrappy Quilts category.)

Fall 2014 BQF Button

For me this is not about winning anything (I know that is not going to happen!) but I do believe that participating in something communal is rewarding for anyone taking part.  I am really looking forward to seeing all the projects of other people; it's a great time to indulge in my hobby alongside other people.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Back to blogging

It's been a whole week since I blogged.  That's quite a while for me, but that's because I have been busy working on my pattern, which is now written and the quilt is now finished.  It shouldn't be too long until I can show you it in full.

In the meantime I have still been working on other things.  At last weekend's quilting class we began preparing for Christmas and made adorable Christmas stockings.  I like making Christmas things with untraditional colour combinations, hence the zingy blue and green in my stocking.  As ever, a good time was had by all and we all made lovely things.  I will definitely be making more of these, though I am going to wait until November (I know it's only next week) before I start thinking about Christmas in earnest.

I have finished a girly quilt in pinks and low volume fabrics.  This is very simple, but I think it works well.  The backing is from my trip to Ikea and I love how this quilt is grown-up and traditional on the back but young and frivolous on the front.  Ikea has clearly gone for the "Cath Kidston" factor with this fabric and I think it's a winner.

The other great thing about this quilt is that it has generated lovely scraps!  I loved making my scrappy star quilt recently so I am now going about making smaller scrappy stars and piecing them together.  I like how it looks so far.  This should definitely be ready for next week's Friday Finish post.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Elephant and Spots: a finished quilt

I've taken a bit of a detour from my recent scrappy quilts to make this elephants and spots quilt for a friend's baby boy, but as I used fabrics which I've had in my stash for about a year I feel good about not making new purchases.

I started off making ten log cabin blocks but then I felt that it was just too similar to a recent quilt so  I then added the Battenberg blocks.  This means that I will be putting those four remaining log cabin blocks into another quilt soon, and there are still a lot of the elephant fabrics left to add to them as well.

For the quilting I kept it simple - tramlines.  They're just so speedy, but look good.  The binding is a red and white houndstooth, which I think goes really well with some of the elephant red and white check ears.  It goes nicely with the red dots on the backing.  I acquired this houndstooth fabric only this week.  A friend of a friend was getting rid of some fabrics (much of it scraps) and I took a lot of it off her hands (I'm good like that!)

Now I cannot wait to give it to my friend.  I meet her little boy on Sunday and I am really excited.  I hope she likes the gift.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Elephant quilt: A quilt in progress

Last week a friend had a baby boy and I am going to meet him on Sunday, so I need to get a quilt made.  I've had these elephant and dot prints by Birch Fabrics for a while and had been holding on to them for a special project.  These cottons are all organic and they feel fantastic; you can feel the quality immediately.

I'm putting together two different kinds of blocks, log cabin and what I call the  "Battenberg" block.  The log cabin blocks are finished and look cute.  I will work on the Battenberg blocks today and they will be made from all the elephant fabrics.

It's all rather simple, but I think it is going to look lovely.

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Two Scrapisfaction Friday Finishes!

I have sewed and quilted like a demon this week and both finished projects are from scraps, my favourite thing of the moment!  I said I was going to sew a "scrapisfaction" project once a month, but at the moment all I work with are scraps, so that makes me feel like an overachiever!

First up is the quilt I started at the weekend.  I put together the remnants from other quilts and stitched them together.  I wanted to make something for a boy and was pleasantly surprised by the quilt I made because the fabrics seem to belong together.  There's definitely a theme with this quilt because the only images belong to transport, and in a bizarre twist for me, there are no critters on this quilt!  I backed it with some cotton from last week's Ikea trip and found a nice navy blue spot to finish off the quilt; I think it works well.

This quilt was quilted on the front with a red thread to complement the many reds in the quilt.  The back was quilted in a light grey, which blended nicely with the blue backing.

Once this quilt was finished I quickly started the next.  I don't know what came over me, but I decided to sort the scraps into colours and then started working on ideas.

I suddenly had a brainwave to make some large half square triangle slabs of fabric and then to put them together in an eight star formation (not unlike my recent tablemats).

I am really thrilled with this quilt.  I love how the colours all stand out so clearly, although there are many different variations within each colour point.  I love the scale.  I think it looks wonderful laid on top of a bed.

I am pleased with the large amount of quilting I did to emphasise the star shape and I think the cute backing works well because it comprises the four colours I used on the front.  I used remnants from the transport quilt's backing for the binding, which made this quilt even more scrapisfying!  When I look at the scraps it's hard to imagine that you can create something so coherent from them.  It blows my mind!

Thank you for popping by.