Tuesday 23 December 2014

Saturday 6 December 2014

Mum & Grannies

I recall with ease just what I was up to 30 years ago today.............as well as being terribly proud of my fine young son, I am also forever grateful to the clever optical experts who came up with very thin spectacle lenses. Goodbye Deirdre!

More conventional December news - I have finished my Granny blocks that I am making along with my classes for our Modern Sampler quilt. I now have all 20 done and assembly will be after the Christmas & New Year break.

I also finished this large block / small quilt, made from a QuiltJane pattern. It finishes at 24" square, I have a notion to make a quilt of giant blocks.........................

It was made with the leftovers from my Tree Skirt, 

Thursday 27 November 2014

Pillow Talk

Steadyyyy....if you are visiting from a casual surf, sorry to burst your bubble, this is a quilting blog.

And if you are reading from across the Pond, Happy Thanksgiving!
We have a saying here in the UK along the lines of - when America sneezes, the UK catches a cold - well, over here we still have Christmas as our main turkey fest but seem to have very suddenly adopted Black Friday, it's all over our Press and Internet. Happy Days.

But I digress. Today I wanted to show you a cushion /pillow that I have just finished as a Christmas pressie for a young nephew. It occurred to me along the way that many reading here will not be familiar with my "fully quilted" technique that I now teach all the time in my classes.........so I took a few pics and thought you might like a look.

Basically what I do is construct the front of the cushion, if it to be pieced. I then add sides, large enough to cross over, envelope style, on the back, before layering up & quilting. If the front of the cushion is to be appliqued then this can be applied to one single length of fabric.
I usually work with the width of the fabric, around 42" - 44" x about 1/2m (about 20")

Below you can see my "Death Star" cushion in the making. I EPP'd the actual Death Star, courtesy of Melinda's pattern at Quirygranola girl..
I decided I wanted it slightly off centre and applied it porthole style to my background fabric.

From this stage it's time to layer up & Quilt as Desired..........

Trim after quilting, just as you would for a quilt. Measure the depth of your cushion, let's say it measures 19" (variable according to your cushion front style). Cut two binding strips to this length, by 1.5". Theses are to bind the short ends and I like to sew them right side of binding onto the wrong side of the cushion. See below.

Press away from "quilt" and fold the long raw edge to the edge of the quilt.

and then fold over onto the right side of the quilt. This then allows you to machine stitch on the right side and I like to do this with an applique stitch.

Now, remember we have an estimated cushion depth of 19"? You will lose an inch here once the final seams are sewn as I recommend a 1/2" seam allowance for security! So we need to work towards a cushion width of about 19" (I always think when making a 3D item like a cushion, a wee innacuracy here and there is ok)
Lay out your quilt/cushion with right side facing up. Fold one side over the other until you achieve about 19" width. At this stage the width will look a little narrower than the depth - that is ok.
Pop a couple of pins along each fold. You can see my pins in the next pic.

Now, leaving the pins as they are, re-fold with the right sides together. Now you are ready to stitch top and bottom seams. Be sure to use your walking foot here and make those seam allowances about 1/2" Where you stitch over the multiple layers reverse stitch a couple of times as these are the points that will be stressed most when stuffing.

Clip corners.....................

and turn through...............now doesn't this look luxurious on the back, it just makes for a more substantial cushion cover, do have a go.

Poke your corners, I do like a neat corner.

Insert cushion pad. My actual cushion measured 17" square and took an 18" feather pad.
Result - one Death Star cushion for a Star Wars obsessed 7yr old.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Schedules and Countdowns

I swear as soon as someone mentions the C word, time takes on a different speed. Suddenly people talk in "days until Christmas" instead of weeks and we all feel a sense of impending panic.
 I haven't posted so much this month so I thought you might like to see progress so far on my Modern Sampler class.
Although I teach weekly, my students attend on a fortnightly basis and I have been giving out new block instructions every second class, once every four weeks. (Sorry if this makes your head hurt). This has created quite a relaxed pace with pretty much everyone keeping up.
I am making another quilt, along with my ladies, it's a very different palette for me.

In the first month we did the following blocks with a sort of cross feature, for those who wanted to stretch themselves a wee bit, I added in an Ohio variation and called it Ohio Cross. In my own blocks below I did not pay attention to colour value and am disappointed at the results. My star points are lost against my dark background...........and I am the teacher, doh!!

In month 2, the block was called Susanna - basically an Economy block in the centre surrounded by squares. I was trying to encourage a scrappy look and anyone who wanted something a little more challenging could FP a more complicated centre. My lesson in this month was how difficult I find it to be totally random.

Block 3 was really a choice of two different blocks, one a challenging FP block - Morning Star - and the other, Rolling Stone, or Broken Wheel depending upon placement of fabrics. I was trying to offer blocks where the patchwork results in circular appearance. I learned that I wasn't in the mood to do a 3rd Morning Star and tossed in a total variation - well it is a sampler, and my ladies are allowed to do variations too!

Next week I will be teaching what has become one of my favourite blocks, the Granny square.

Here is a sneaky peek.

This weekend, I had a little help in the sewing room - my threads were "tidied" up. Now this is someone looking forward to the "C" word in a big way. Hurry up Santer......

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Tumbling Around

Last Sunday I held my Tumbler Cushion workshop. I had bought a Tumbler die for my Accuquilt Go last year in the US when I was on holiday and early in the New Year set to making my sample cushion. I was happy with my cushion but less than happy with the cutting process, the shapes did not cut cleanly.
This is an issue I had with my very first die that came with the machine and to their credit, Accuquilt did replace that die.
With the possible problem at the back of my mind and a full booking list for the workshop I tried another cutting session a couple of months back and things were worse than I remembered. As cutting with Gordon (my Go) is part of the attraction for this particular workshop I had to bite the bullet and buy a new die.
My initial try outs were good,.........and things proved even better on Sunday. Everyone cut their tumblers with ease - phew!

Because the cutting was done in next to no time it meant that there was a good chance of completing, or nearly completing their cushions.
And when you realise that all my cushion workshops involve quilted backs and fronts then you will agree that is a great achievement in a day!
This was my sample cushion.............
and here are some from Sunday, in progress................you can see the construction process,  it's like a small rectangular quilt.

and while this hard work was going on I did a little Tumbler Vomit

and there were some finishes too!

Well done ladies, it was a really good day. I might invest in the bigger Tumbler die now, I have some ideas.................

And if you are looking for my BQF entry go HERE.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival


Six months must have flown by because it's time for the wonderful Bloggers' Quilt Festival where you can view the most brilliant selection of quilts, large & small, without getting sore feet!
Use the button above to delve in and keep on returning as new quilts will be added until voting time.

I have entered something now for the last few Festivals and didn't want to miss this one out. I have decided to enter into the Mini Quilt section. Minis should be no more than 80" all the way around so my offering at 17" square fits in fine.
I made this Mini for a friend's 0 birthday this year - the friend who introduced me to quilting way back around 1998. With a few others we have been meeting most Thursdays for many years, at what we loosely call our Sewing Bee. In the early days we laughingly called ourselves Shady Pines in what we thought was a hilarious nod to the future but the future is here now, so we don't mention that name so often.
The wee Mini came about from a few little Granny blocks that I had been playing about with, testing sizes, etc. I had four in shades of pinks and aqua. I framed them all up with white borders and then "wonkified" them all to, I think, 6" square. I liked the movement the wonky produced. I then added borders from some leftover Bella, by Lotta Jansdotter .

I tried my hand, or should I say, my machine, at matchstick quilting, something I hadn't tried before but had spotted turning up in blogs and IG. On a piece this small, it was fun and added such texture.

In an effort at arty I stitched a few lines in pink thread and then promptly unpicked..................

I had just the right piece of teal fabric to bind.

And that was my gift, Granny to Granny.

In an effort to be business like, here are some stats.
The Mini is 17" square.
All fabrics are 100% cotton
Thread used is Aurifil #50 in white 2024
Wadding is Hobbs 80/20

Am now off to link up and have a nosey at all the other quilts. Hope you do too.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Deja Vu

As I had no contact from the original winner, I re-did the draw and am delighted to announce the winner of the Mega Pinnie,


The lovely Sarah from SewMe. Drop me an email Sarah and I shall get the Pinnie off to you asap.

Thank you again to all who entered.

Wednesday 8 October 2014


So, for my 500th post I am highlighting my techie numptiness!

When I announced my recent giveaway I failed to remind folks that they might be "no-reply bloggers". This results in it being terribly difficult to make contact.

The winner of said giveaway was Ruth Griffeth who I have tried to contact via Google + where I have found a brief profile, she lives somewhere in California.

So, Ruth, I hope you read this - if so please contact me asap.

I shall wait until next Monday, same time, same place and then draw a new winner.

And for any of you who may be wondering click HERE to find out if you are a NO reply blogger, and how to remedy it.

Monday 6 October 2014

And the winners are............

Haven't drawn them just yet, but thought I'd do a quick update on my weekend sewing first. I found myself on Friday and Saturday with lots of opportunities to sew but was suddenly overwhelmed by weariness to the extent that I took to the sofa with my Kindle. Sometimes you have to give in to it don't you?
So on Sunday morning I managed a quick hour to make a start on quilting a baby quilt that I am planning as an early 2015 workshop. It features one of my latest Accuquilt dies
Quite cute, I decided to keep things quite simple and concentrate on just one animal, the giraffe. I showed the full top in my last post and today I finished off the quilting, so just the binding to do.

I enjoyed a bit of fmq meandering around the giraffe appliques and then in the plain white blocks I had a go at doing them in reverse.

And then I decided to make a start on this month's Bee Blessed block, a scrappy, stripey triangle. I decided to try and make them from my already cut strips and managed to do so. They were very quick to make.

If any of you would like to join in and make some of these blocks ( anyone in my classes fancy having a go??) then Judith has a tutorial HERE.

And so to my giveaway - thank you again for all the lovely comments. I am hoping for the first time to actually embed the random thingy in this post - have never managed before, possibly because I have Windows 8 but have been researching earlier this evening so here goes -

First up -

So Ruth has chosen prize number 1, the Mega Pinnie.

Next up, 

and Linda has chosen prize number 3, the Mystery bundle.

and finally,

So Pauline, the cushion cover will be yours, not your first choice but as you say, you can make your own Mega Pinnie. And by the way, AMH is Anna Maria Horner.

Well done ladies, I will be emailing you shortly.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

September was a busy month...........

If you are looking for my Giveaway - it's HERE. ( Many thanks for all the lovely comments, much appreciated)

So - September. When I was checking my September photos, I realised my month fell in to different categories:-

I like to get Bee blocks done early in the month so first up were my blocks for Janet, in Bee a Brit Stingy...

and then a couple for Bee Blessed..........

My classes really got underway although we did have a week off due to the Referendum!! So I progressed with my blocks for our Modern Sampler.

Then of course there was the wonderful Stitch Gathering.........

I finished off a cushion and managed a small key fob gift..........

I made very little progress with my WIPs, a double quilt, an advent calendar and a Christmas table topper...

But, I did manage to get a baby quilt top pieced, a future workshop...............

As the month drew almost to a close, I held a Mile a Minute workshop - a great stash buster although strangely it does seem to create more scraps............a messy business.

but so many lovely blocks made...........

and I made some really, wee ones, for a future Princess & the Pea quilt,

And my September finally closed with a delightful moment as Ava was deemed old enough to get her paws on Grandma's button jar, oh how I had looked forward to this moment.........

And that was September, I am linking as always, to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.


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