Friday, 29 August 2014


This is not one of my favourite quilts, but it is for one of my favourite people, my nephew Romeo, so for that reason I am pleased it is finished and I know he is going to be thrilled when it arrives in the post tomorrow.  He made a request for all the elements in this quilt (elephants, lions, cars, diggers, football, Manchester United, the colour red).  I must love him because I am not a fan of Manchester United and yet there is just so much Manchester United insignia on here.

I struggled to get the quilt photographed as a whole quilt because as I headed outside with the camera it started to drizzle, so I was forced indoors.  Essentially it's two large log cabin blocks which are joined with a Manchester United cushion cover I acquired and cut to pieces.

The binding is scrappy binding and is made from the remnants of the red fabrics.  I don't use red much so I am glad I made good use of it here because I don't want lots of it hanging around and taking up valuable fabric storage space.

You may have noticed the Manchester United badge which I have appliqued on five times.  I would like to say this was always intended and is a design feature, but that would be a lie.  I made a couple of stitching mistakes so I used these to cover them up but I think it adds to the overall quilt in the end and makes the front match the back a little more.

Manchester United haven't had much success recently so there has been less for Romeo to celebrate.  Here's hoping this puts a smile on his face.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Normal Service Resumed

I am now back to quilting and blogging after returning from a lovely, relaxing holiday in Austria.  I had a great time and worked on a couple of projects (Briar Rose hexagons and knitting a pair of socks) but I missed the sewing machine and within my first 24 hours back home I have worked on two projects.  Sewing hexagons and knitting socks make for relaxing and therapeutic projects but there is nothing like hitting the sewing machine and making fast progress.

I am on a bit of a money-saving mission at the moment because I really do want a long-arm quilter at some point, so I am going to try to work with stash fabrics for the next few months and become reacquainted and fall back in love with some earlier fabric purchases.

At the recent Festival of Quilts (did I mention I went?) I bought some Liberty Lifestyle Bloomsbury Gardens fabrics to add to some existing fabrics I already owned from the range.  I bought two metres of backing as well so this fits my money-saving mission as I have everything to make a complete project.  To make this quilt a little funkier, I have also added some other fabrics from my stash (elephants and CND symbols aren't original to the range.)  I have already made two projects from this range (a quilt and a cushion) and I love these so I know these are going to be fun fabrics to work with again; the pinks, blues and greens are the prettiest ever. 

I am making string blocks and so far have made 30 4" squares.  I like the look but think I am going to make a chequerboard quilt with white squares.  I have plenty of white fabric in my stash so I still won't need to make an additional purchase for this quilt.  I think this quilt will be ready in no time so I am determined to get a Friday finish this week.  That's almost a promise!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday Stash #2

Today I have had such a great day sewing and being with my sewing friends that it seems strange to be going further back in time to the Festival of Quilts again to share some of my fabric purchases.  But, seeing as I have taken the photos and mentioned previously that I would do a Sunday Stash post, it makes sense to stick to the plan.

It is impossible for me to go to the Festival of Quilts and not buy Liberty fabric.  I am a major fan and can boast a significant stash of Liberty fabrics.  I treated myself to some lovely bits and pieces but was then really pleased that two of my friends bought me Liberty fabrics as well.  Margaret bought me a Liberty Lucky Bag which was great because there were some amazing little gems in there, many of which I do not already own.  I am working (on and off) on two Liberty quilts and the Lucky Bag fabrics are perfect for the hexagons I am making in one of these quilts.  Amy bought me a great print which I don't even know the name of but which has really zingy greens, pinks and oranges in it and will be a real feature fabric in a future project.  Aren't I lucky to have friends with great taste?

I love fabric and I love cats, so these cat prints Tiger Stripe by Cotton and Steel were always going to be purchased by me.  I love "critter" fabrics in any case, but these are so beautifully stylised that I already count them amongst my favourite animal fabrics.  The smiling food below has to be my most random purchase.  I bought it on its own and have nothing even remotely similar to it in my stash but I just felt I wanted it.  I think I want to turn it into some oven mitts at some point, but who knows when or what its other fabric friends will be?  At this point, who cares?  I love it, that's enough to justify having it!

This little bundle was put together randomly when I got home.  Many of these were bought to join a low volume quilt I have on the go.  My friend, Lorraine, bought me the shamrock fabric in pink and orange here (which is actually tricky to see in this bundle) but when I added it to other purchases it created a little set which is possibly the start of a funky quilt.  I love the shamrocks being in unconventional colours like pink and orange and I always love these bright colours together.  I've already joined them to some red lobsters I purchased and love the craziness already.

Lorraine pointed me in the direction of a stall called The Shuttle, which sold really good fabrics at fantastic prices.  I now discover it is near to my home town (and so also my family!) so I suspect I will be visiting it again in the not so distant future.  Here are some good stash builders I bought from there:

I see so many quilts with the pearl bracelet pattern, but I think it is just so dependable.  I like the bike path fabrics for the same reason.  Later in the week you will see these fabrics in a quilt I have already pieced.

These aren't my only purchases, I also bought much of the Far Far Away range by Heather Ross, but I won't bother showing you these fabrics as they are already cut and pieced and no longer in my stash.

When I use the phrase "a good time was had by all" to describe our day at the NEC it is no exaggeration.  If anything, it is probably an understatement.  Today's sewing day was not just about making; we all shared our stories of the day and showed off our purchases.  A couple of us remarked how rubbish Friday felt because it was such a comedown from such a day of visual treats and creative inspiration.  I know I certainly felt that.  But, we're all agreed that next year it's going to be a two day affair with an overnight stay so we can be there early doors and see even more.  I'm already counting down the days.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Festival of Quilts

Yesterday was an amazing day!  I went with some friends to the NEC for The Festival of Quilts.  I went last year and loved it so I think it is now going to be a yearly pilgrimage.  I cannot possibly explain everything that I saw, bought or discussed; it was overwhelming, but I will mention some highlights.

I made some good fabric purchases (and have already begun working with some of them in a baby quilt today) but I am going to save them for a Sunday Stash post.  I didn't just buy fabric, however, as I treated myself to some lovely Aurifil thread.  I keep reading about Aurifil's great qualities so I am going to put it to the test.  This collection is called The Zingy Collection and I love the colours.  They will be brilliant for my projects because I love vibrant colours.  I was swayed by a small reduction in price, but I think they are great in any case.

I am really pleased with the gadgets I bought.  I went with the intention of visiting the Bloc-Loc stand because I keep reading about them and seeing the precision you can achieve with them.  I bought the Half Rectangle Triangle rulers and the Drunkard's Path rulers, which are two shapes which will be new to me, so I am really excited to get using these soon.  There was a great atmosphere at this stall and the lady demonstrated them really well.  I also bought a Clover Hera Chalkless Fabric Marker which I am going to use with my quilting, especially creating diagonal lines.

Inevitably I spent quite a bit of time at the different long-arm quilting specialists.  I would love one of these machines and  to become skilled at quilting using one.  They are serious purchases, though, due to the cost, space and time it takes to develop expertise, so (on this occasion) I did not come home with one.  Maybe in the future, but certainly not yet.

As I like to include a Friday Finish post on Crazy Mom Quilts, today I am showing a quilt I made a while ago, but which has not been on this blog before.  It's made from fabrics left over from other quilts and has four large log cabin blogs made using Rasterquick as well as then a small central one.  I like this quilt because I think the blue and green fabrics work well together and I like the figures from the Creative Thursday Just for Fun range.  I have backed it in a largely white fabric.  I like this quilt because I think it would work equally well for a baby boy or a baby girl.  This quilt was not made for any one in particular, so it is now for sale on my Etsy shop.  Hopefully someone will like it and make it theirs.

Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

It's not me, it's you

Last year my nephew, Romeo, made a request for a quilt.  His sisters had already received a quilt each and he was quite clear that it was now his turn.  He wrote a list of things he wanted in his quilt and I promised I would make it.  The list read: football, elephants, lions, trucks, cars, Manchester United and the colour red.  That's quite a quilt!  And I don't think these things go easily together, but a promise is a promise and I began to source fabrics and put them together as two large log cabin blocks.

So far, so good, but then I lost momentum and did not want to work on this quilt.  I wanted to work with prettier fabrics where colours work well together.  I procrastinated and used the excuse of no Manchester United backing as my excuse for not completing it.  However, it turns out Romeo had not forgotten his quilt and mentioned it a few times to my sister (his mum) and my Grandma to remind me.

Then last week my sister sent me this photo and I was guilt-tripped because poor Romeo is using his sisters' quilts because he does not have his own!

I quickly got my act together, bought a duvet from eBay to cut up for the backing and have now begun the quilting.  I do not love this quilt but I do love Romeo and I know this quilt is probably the most eagerly anticipated so I am determined to finish it as soon as possible so when I next see him he receives it.

Friday, 1 August 2014

A Baby Quilt - a finished project

One of the great things about quilting, or doing any craft for that matter, is that there is always something new to learn.  I'm a teacher by profession and not so long ago there was an expectation we teach "Three Part Lessons" (I won't go into it here) but this quilt reminded me of this because I learned three key things along the way.

Firstly, this finished quilt provided a lesson for me in long-arm quilting, and I am pleased with the overall look and feel.  Today's finished quilt represents such a departure for me because of the swirls and curves because I am usually limited to quilting using straight lines.  To the untrained eye it must seem like any other quilt I have made but I feel proud of this quilt because I learned a new skill and applied it with some success.  Obviously I am no expert yet, but quilting also teaches that practice does make perfect.  Hopefully I will be able to develop my basic skills further and show my progress on this blog at some point.

This quilt was made with scraps from other quilts but I really like how the fabrics interact.  The greens and blues work well side by side and I like the light backgrounds on many of the squares.  The backing fabric is by Red Rooster Fabrics and I think that it's called A is for Animals. I am pleased with how the letters match many of the colours on the front.

The second lesson I learned here is that variegated thread might not be the right choice for long-arm quilting, especially on so much white.  This comes as a shock to me as I cannot resist a variegated thread but the next time I use the long-arm quilter I am going to have a go using a solid thread throughout because I wonder if this thread is too busy when there is so much quilting on the front.  That's just another example of learning throughout this craft.  I need to try it, compare it and decide which I prefer.

I chose a red gingham fabric for the binding on a whim but it has worked brilliantly.  I think the red brings out the red on the front and the back but also gives it a classic feel even though there are contemporary fabrics on the front.  Here was also my third lesson.  The binding is the best I have ever sewn because I looked up a tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts and I was then able to make the binding less bulky and more regular.  I haven't finished it off on the machine, I finished it by hand, but a future lesson will be to finish binding on the machine.  I think there is something extremely motivating about the fact that there is always more to discover, to learn and to perfect.  

Thank you for visiting.

P.S.  As my blog is relatively new and in a bid to increase the number of readers and followers I am linking to Lily's Quilts who has a monthly link to boost small blogs like mine.

Small Blog Meet