Sunday, 11 March 2018

Chilly Sewing

Looking back to my last post how silly of me to suggest Spring was in the air, how wrong could I be?

To be fair, here in Ayr we (whispers) had no snow! Cold, yes, but no lying snow - we are so fortunate to be sheltered by the Isle of Arran although of course other parts of Ayrshire not a million miles away suffered the snowy disruption that much of the UK did. We did for a brief moment in time share the fuel, bread and milk shortages, but really nothing too dramatic.

So on those cold days and with my OH away for a little longer than planned due to air traffic delays (weather related) I got on with some sewing.

My Bella Sampler, still in three sections but now has wadding and backing cut into three appropriate sections also. Quilting will commence in the fullness of time.

The Irish Chain quilt that I shared with you has grown slightly in real life and much more on paper.

I showed you my original plan - just nine blocks.

But I decided to explore the options of adding in lots of LV blocks and have come up with this option - 25 blocks! It'll be a slow burner as I work through my scraps cutting squares when I feel like it and sewing blocks whenever. I intend to enjoy the process.

 I also worked on an updated version of an old class project, Topsy. My original class sample was made using Christmas colours so for this new version I chose a Lewis and Irene range called Island Girl that reminded me of Disney's Moana. When finished, it will of course go to a small person I know. (wink)
These photos show my progress, it also has been layered up and awaits quilting!!

I do hope eventually to add this version to my original pattern and offer it for sale but I seem to work pretty slowly these days so it might be a while yet...........

Sprinkled in to my sewing there were a couple of gifts, a rope bowl which was very well received.] and I joined with my Bee Buddies to make a couple of baby quilts for another Bee Grannie to be (!!)

I attended my first meeting of the Ayrshire Modern Quilters' Guild - it is held in the most super accommodation right on the platform of Kilmarnock train station - the old waiting room has been beautifully converted into a really comfortable multi purpose room, bright and cheerful and through a connecting door is the equally pleasant cafe. Genius.

And finally on the sewing front I have continued to make (2) my Attic Window cushions in Amanda's classes. As I will miss the final two classes I ramped up my progress on these and have completed one. I absolutely love the fabric I chose for this project but on completion I wish I had used stronger tones for my "window sills"...........always learning.

This is cushion #1 all layered up and quilted (YES) - I always add the back sections to the front and quilt as one before binding the short ends and folding, enveloped style. Makes for a really luxurious cushion.
And here is an actual finish!!

And finally, here in the UK it's Mother's Day. Not only will I be lucky enough to spend time today with both my "children" and their spouses, but we will all be celebrating my grand daughter Ava's 6th birthday - she is excited beyond belief about her birthday and the excitement will continue on as she is getting my old Janome 3/4 sized machine, a sewing basket full of goodies and a promise of sewing lessons from Grandma. We'll see how that goes.............

Have a great Sunday wherever you are.xx

Wednesday, 31 January 2018


Well hasn't January been a long month? I think everybody yearns for it to be over and it sometimes feels like you are climbing uphill but once you get to the top you can see February and March ahead and dare I say it, Spring??

I hope you all managed to avoid the flu bug that has been so prevalent here. Our house had the bug early in December so we felt smug and well as we approached Christmas only to have our Christmas Day scuppered when my poor DIL went down with it - all was not lost though. With half a day's notice and good old Aldi I pulled together a Christmas meal and laughed at how often I have spent hours in the past making lists for the big meal. I scored a half price boxed turkey, nestling in greaseproof paper and found an embossed card within with cooking instructions that alerted me to its built in thermometer - its what?? A first for me, it turned out great and I believe it was the award winning bird of the year, lol.
The family managed to re-convene by the end of Christmas week although numbers were still a little depleted.

Moving into January and turning to sewing again was brightened by the delivery of this book.

I haven't started anything from it yet but have my eye on the Highland Cow within. The layout and instructions in this book are excellent and I really look forward to starting.....I just need to finish up some other stuff first before I allow myself. Such discipline!!

Early in the month a friend asked if I could come up with something suitable for her Aunt's impending 100th birthday. There wasn't much time so I reckoned a simple cushion with some machine embroidery might fit the bill. I used some Kaffe shot cotton and purchased an embroidery design which I stitched out in two shades of gold. The finished cushion was well received by my friend and her Aunt Jean.

The weather in January has been pretty wintery so a great excuse to hole up in the sewing room. I was in just the mood for storage and so far have made two (I plan three in total) of these great storage pods. Pattern is by Beth Studley. I am making this for my grand daughter to help contain her growing collection of little plastic figures, you know the kind of thing, Playmobil, Lego, Shopkins etc

For my own storage I made one of these little storage basket, an old favourite by Pink Penguin. They take next to no time to knock up and I use them inside drawers to store haberdashery items like zips, lace, cords etc.

Now the quilt I showed you in my last post, The Bella Skills Builder - well I finished all the blocks and have added borders. I plan to QAYG in three big sections and now have the wadding and backing organised. As you know the front is totally made from solids and I was really pleased to find a very large duvet cover in the Ikea sale in quite a bold geometric design and also in the colours I used on the front, pretty much. For those of you who have not seen this tip before, consider buying a duvet cover to use for backings as you usually end up with twice as much fabric to use. And I have four pillowcases as a bonus. No photos at the moment but once I get going on the quilting I'll remember to take some.

I have also returned to class this month and am working on an Attic Window cushion that is taking shape nicely. Photos in next post, I promise.
Lastly, I made a start on a small Irish Chain quilt using up scraps. I have had it in the back of my mind since I saw this post by RedPepperQuilts. What I particularly love about Rita's tutorial is her plan for pressing seams so that all of them can interlock. Genius.
However, I decided to plan a smaller quilt, so far anyway. The blocks are actually making up quite quickly so I might expand. And although I am using scraps I am keeping them tamed in colour bands.
This is my mock up on EQ7 -

And this is my progress so far -

I hope January has been productive for you too. Roll on February.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Running Out of 2017

Well, following my last post I haven't really improved my blogging output at all have I.

Many's the time I have thought to sit down and post but as the months rolled by I fretted about fitting everything in. Then I thought, if I am going to continue this blog, just get on with a post and show a few recent makes, I don't have to include every last moment from August! So working backwards from my recent sewing here is what I have been up to.

I finished all of the blocks from the Bella Skills Builder sew a long, changing a couple in the final stages. I did set out on this project hoping to make use of lots of shirts I have stashed and did use some of them. The project was meant to be made using Bella solids and I stuck to the solid plan which I found very enjoyable. The shirts I started off with sort of dictated my colour palette and I also used some stash solids. I always knew that I would want to make a larger quilt than the one in the QAL and tried a few layouts on EQ7. Aiming for a pretty large quilt for our very large bed, I made a start this week on joining and sashing the blocks and in the picture below you will see I have completed the top section, adding in monster 6" sashing & borders. My quilt is going to end up about 90" square and I am constructing this joining stage in three sections which I will quilt separately. I have to admit I was a wee bit scared using such wide sashing but the effect has spread out the blocks and I like this better than having them all butting up together. It's a wee bit hard to make it out in the picture as the blocks have overshot my "design wall" onto an existing quilt, I'll try for better photos as I progress.

Just before Christmas with no Big Day to organise here I found myself needing a quick sewing fix and made this Nina wristlet from Sotak Handmade

Since August, I have been attending Amanda's classes in Prestwick. Amanda took over these classes from me in 2016 and has offers really interesting projects. I decided to sign up for The Catch All Caddy, a useful bag design by This bag uses Annie's Soft and Stable wadding which I hadn't used before and was keen to try. The timing of the course was also perfect because if I finished the bag in time I thought it might be a perfect gift for my friend's special birthday in December.
Despite my years of experience (Cough, cough) I found this quite a tricky project and was really glad of Amanda's guidance. I used Sweetwater's Celebration fabric line for the bag - the main fabric has lots of celebratory events printed on it and as well as a birthday, friend Janet was retiring.

Also in December I recalled Jo launching a competition on her blog - those of us who attended the Stitch Gathering in September received in their goody bags a panel of Cori Dantini fabric plus some coordinating fat quarters. So the challenge was to make something using the fabric and submit photos on Instagram by tomorrow!! I opted to make a nice zippy purse and after  bit of thought I cut out the character from one of the panels plus some of the flowers and appliqued them on to an already quilted piece of fabric I found in my UFO drawer. I really enjoyed taking time over this project and actually came up with a different way of inserting the zip which I'll share another time.

And lastly, still in December my fellow Sewing Bee pals (real life not online) and I finally finished this joint effort quilt, a special birthday gift for the aforementioned Janet. The design is based on a quilt called Spin, by Leanne from She can Quilt who first showed the on her blog maybe about 18 months or even longer ago. Strangely I saw it at the same time as one of the other Bees and we had both bookmarked it in our heads as being the perfect project for Janet. With Leanne's blessing we chose this as the perfect project.
We all know Janet's colours and so chose our palette to suit.
We actually made a start on the project last January and used a Lewis and Irene fabric line, Make a Christmas Wish. We wanted to make a subtle Christmas quilt that perhaps could be left out all year and think we pulled it off. To finish we both hand and machine quilted it.

I have been enjoying my sewing recently and hope to forge ahead with projects old and new in 2018.

I wish you all a Happy and healthy New Year and hope to be back again soon.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Like an Old Penny

I am back!

I didn't mean to stay away so long, and then it sort of became a habit that I wondered if I should give up blogging altogether and then realised that would be so rude after all these years to all my followers and although blogging in itself has suffered a bit of a slump at the hands of Instagram, it still has a place, doesn't it! hands up if you still look at blogs? I know I still do.

So I refreshed my own memory and see I left you all hanging as I jetted off with the family to Florida for our big Disney holiday. The Art Wrap that I showed you here was a success - it was revealed at Glasgow airport when we had tears, I think maybe because of our delay in departure, can't remember, but the drawing materials went down very well and were a great hit on the flight and during the holiday.
As luck would have it, Florida was experiencing a heatwave and temperatures were way higher than normal for April, just great for the 14 day theme park pass!! I felt about 90 but eventually acclimatised. But it wasn't about me, the holiday was aimed at the 5yr old in our family and she had a ball meeting every Disney Princess known to man.
This is one of my favourite photos from our holiday.

Returning from holiday and it was a whirlwind few weeks until our son's wedding - I was busy with a little sewing during this time for Today's Quilter but won't be able to share this for several months.
I also took cold feet about the outfit I had picked ages ago for the wedding and set about choosing a whole new ensemble, I sort of turned into a total mad woman but was completely happy with my new the wedding was on 8th July. On 7th and 9th July it rained but on 8th "Happy is the bride the sun shines on" came true and we had a wonderful day. Very emotional.

Things haven't quite settled down yet................just after the wedding I attended a Christmas in July workshop with Amanda Clark in Prestwick and made this lovely candle mat. I decided not to use Christmas fabrics so I could have the mat in use year round.

Amanda is the very talented young lady who took over my classes in Prestwick last year and I think we both found it a bit weird that I was turning up at her classes However, any discomfort must surely have disappeared on her part during the next 3 weeks when I attended her Learn to Crochet classes - long on my bucket list, I was a total novice and felt very out of my comfort zone. I turned up at the second class to find the others with multiple Granny squares whilst I had achieved one, with a carbuncle.........I felt like a failure but I was determined and Amanda so patient. By the end of the third session, I think I had grasped the basics and I have now decided to try and finish the project which is a cushion, have even bought more wool.

Most summers I like to have a little EPP on the go and this year I started one using octagons and squares. It was always destined as a present for an old friend who had sent me a book about Lucy Boston, whose quilts inspired me to use her Piano Keys quilt pattern for this project. So I managed to finish in time for said friend's birthday this month and transform it into a cushion. I hand stitched the panel of EPP onto a backing piece of fabric and then layered up as I always do for cushions, making back and front in one long piece. I started to machine quilt but after just two rows of stitching in the ditch the octagons were beginning to wrinkle and I could foresee heartache ahead. After unpicking and an unscheduled break I had a bit of a eureka moment that would avoid hand quilting. I used one of the built in stitches on my machine and machine "tied" each octagon, very difficult to see in the photo but hopefully you will get the idea. This led me on to sewing a few buttons elsewhere and then machine stitching the back as normal. For the opening on the back, I pinched this  genius idea from Bonnie Hunter at quiltvillebonnie. The black fabric used in my cushion was actually an old shirt and I had watched a video of hers on how to strip down a shirt for patchwork - she added that you could even use the button and buttonhole plackets as openings on cushions and the idea had stayed with me (amazingly enough) and it worked a treat.

At risk of being a very lengthy blog post I am just going to go for it if you can still hang in there, we are not far off now.
Into August and the next big thing on our calendar was my husband's retirement, he has been ticking off the days for quite a while now so he welcomed the celebrations although tinged with emotions too, after 42years. Family and colleagues came together for lunch.

And throughout this very busy year I have been keeping pace with the Bella Skills Builder BOM that is being published each month in the fat quarter shop blog. I think there might only be a couple of months left now and I have thoroughly enjoyed sewing along to this one. All the blocks have been traditional ones and I have really loved using solid fabrics only. I did challenge myself to include shirt fabric and at the start thought that I might slip a few prints in but have easily avoided this as I am loving the fresh look of the solids against the white. I am hoping to make the final quilt a little larger than the planned pattern as I would like it for our super king plus I would prefer to quilt as you go in big chunks so have been playing about with a different layout on EQ7. Here's what I have done so far,

But that is for another day. For the moment I am feeling good to be back.

Next calendar event? First day of school on Thursday, how did that happen?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Holiday Season

A week or so ago I was approached by a representative of ECT Travel to see if I would consider mentioning their quilting tours on my blog.
Before I go any further I must say I have not been offered any remuneration or favours other than a mention of my blog on their own social media sites. That said I am not in a position to offer any opinion on their tours, I have never experienced one.

I had however heard of the company and I have in the past heard of the quilt shows that are held in the Alsace area of France. Indeed I believe it was that very area's show that inspired our very own Loch Lomond Quilt Show.
When I heard that ECT are themselves affiliated to the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles then I thought the company must surely be worth a browse, so why don't you have a look too. Personally I have been to big quilt shows in this country and in far away places like Sydney as part of my own planned holidays but not as part of an organised tour but I do imagine there is an appetite for organised trips to specialised venues and some of ECT's venues look mouth watering.......what follows is their own words and pictures, so please enjoy.

Nestled deep in the enchanting French countryside, the region of Alsace is situated close to the border of Germany and Switzerland. It is here in mid-September, for 4 days only, that you will find 36 unique and quirky exhibition sites dotted amongst the villages of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Sainte-Croix-aux-Mines, Liepvre and Rombach-Le-Franc.

As the cradle of the Amish movement, Alsace has been a hub for quilting and textile artists for over 300 years. In 1993 the European Patchwork Meeting was devised to celebrate the talents of traditional and modern patchworkers and quilters. With a huge range of activities such as workshops, conferences, specialist stalls and exhibitions, it is no surprise that over 22,000 international visitors flock to the event every year.

Working together with the Quilter’s Guild, ECT Travel have put together a fantastic 3 night package that gives textile enthusiasts the chance to explore the art trail at their own pace, whilst all the hassle of arranging their transport and accommodation has been taken care of.

Staying in the town of Colmar, where on Friday and Saturday evenings the buildings are illuminated by an award winning light show, guests will have free time to explore after being transferred back to their hotel from the event by executive coach.

For more information on this amazing tour or to book, please visit ECT’s website or contact Sofia by email on

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Excitement levels are building Chez Bluepatch as our Disney holiday approaches.........I showed you a few things that I had made for Ava already but have one more project that I haven't shared and this one is courtesy of Ali at veryberryhandmade. It's a very nice art wrap, well, Ali's is, mine is a wee bit wobbly and I left out the ties as I thought the chubby five year old fingers might cope better with snaps, (and I am putting Kam snaps on everything that doesn't move at the moment). Anyway, thought I'd produce this on the flight, might keep her amused for half an hour or so..............

Meanwhile, I am now all up to date on the Bellaskillbuilder BOM that I am doing from the fatquartershop blog. This month we had to do seven Pineapple blocks, three in one size and four a little larger. There was a recommended ruler to purchase to help trim as you went along but I wanted to make a start and I am also a bit mean and thought I was unlikely to be making more Pineapples in my near future. I'd only ever foundation pieced this block before so had a bit of a look online to see if I could pick up some tips and found some help from this blog - once I got going I found I could use tape to mark my wide ruler at the point for trimming each round of the pineapple and this worked fine for me. Although my blocks look quite accurate they are actually quite wonky here and there but I am really quite pleased with them. Remember I am using old shirts for this project although in these Pineapples the peach is new solid from stash, the white is all shirt fabric.


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