Wednesday 30 July 2014

Cooling Off for Christmas

My Sunday workshops have a bit of a reputation - the weather is always really good. Seriously, even in the winter the sun will be splitting the skies. People have been known to check out my workshop programme before organising weddings & BBQs. (ok, so I made that up)
Well, my first workshop of the new season was on Sunday and it rained. After a week of temperatures in the high 20s, I don't think any of us minded the cooler temperatures and as we were about to make Christmas Tree Skirts it seemed more appropriate weather.

I think everyone enjoyed themselves and all left with their Skirts ready for a bit of simple quilting. I was thrilled to have a young quilter join in on Sunday. At 12yrs of age she fairly brought down the average age, that's for sure!!

Thank you ladies, for easing me back into the old routine and for acting as unofficial pattern testers!
If you would like to make one of these Tree Skirts, you will find the pattern in my Etsy shop.

Sunday 20 July 2014

No Secrets.........

Sometimes when we do secret sewing it is easy to forget to mention it later. I have a couple of projects that I have made this month, both birthday gifts and one has now been received so I can share.

I made this embroidery pouch for a good online friend, Salley, in Sydney. Sadly we have yet to meet but our online friendship has blossomed with much in common and I know she enjoyed a special birthday last week.

I have made similar pouches now a few times and you will find the instructions in the lovely Ayumi's Patchwork Please book. Although aimed at the embroiderer I know Salley appliques and thought it would suit well for travelling projects.

Happy birthday Sal, I really enjoyed making this for you.

Recently, I taught a two day Intro to Patchwork course where the students learned the basics and used them to make a fully quilted cushion. I am still working on my second sample but decided to offer the original for sale. I have added it to my Etsy shop.

I hope all the FQ retreaters are recovering nicely after a wonderful weekend.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Back to School

We are right in the middle of school holidays up here in Scotland and the shops are full of school uniforms - I always used to think that was a bit depressing.
But you have to keep ahead of the curve and I find myself slipping quickly into class mindset with my first workshop of the season approaching fast - it's a week Sunday, 27th and will be Christmas in July. We are making a Tree Skirt and although I already have a perfectly serviceable sample I decided I would make a couple of new for daughter & one for son & his OH.
For daughter I chose these fabrics, by Nancy Halvorsen, I think it might be an older line as one print was tricky to find.

The first two fabrics are combined for one side, perhaps for the grown-ups, and the backing is more kiddie friendly with snowmen tumbling everywhere.

I just have some big, silver jingle bells to sew on each point and this one is done.

I hope to have the pattern available for this in early August.

When I was making a start on this Tree Skirt I realised I didn't have the necessary matching ribbon to progress, and I wanted to sew, anything, so after cutting out all the pieces for the Skirt, I wanted to use up the scraps to make something . Recently there was a bit of a blog hop that I stumbled upon that resulted in me buying this pattern. It was terribly cheap and the instructions are beautifully written. I did intend it as a treat for myself with carefully chosen fabrics,  but I used up the Christmas scraps and I might turn it into a table topper, it works out at 24" square and was great fun to make.

This morning, I made a start on one of my FAL Q3 projects, a biggie, a quilt! It was a project I dreamed up back in January -ish, and I wanted to see what I could use from my stash - I had two identical Charm Packs and made them into 4 patches having designed what I think might be quite a modern quilt. It will have a lot of negative space so I bought a solid cream fabric. I have spent time figuring out how to cut in the most economical way, I had bought an extra metre along the way. To my delight this morning I found that the 3m piece was actually 4m so I am not as tight in my calculations as I thought I might be. And so, out came the rotary cutter and I made a start. I got a good bit cut before I had to leave the sewing room for a few hours in the sun. And if you think I am mad talking Christmas already, here is what we found......perfect for Frozen fans.

And so, back to thoughts of school, I have been reminding my students of their start dates and hope they are all looking forward as much as I am to starting our new project. I am sure many of them have still to make final fabric purchases so it might be a good time to point them in the direction of rather a lovely UK site, Plush Addict. As I am in a Christmassy frame of mind, aren't these great, from Moda's Yuletide Boulevard range.
They also have 

 I like their website for browsing, it's really well laid out and they don't just sell quilting cottons, they have something to suit all kinds of sewists. (nicer word than sewers which makes me think of unsavoury things). UK postage is free for purchases over £40 and you can find them at  

Saturday 12 July 2014

.....and Future

A couple of years ago I introduced the ladies in my classes to the wonders of Aurifil threads. To expose them to the lovely threads I was buying it retail and re-selling, when a friend suggested I become a retailer myself.
all images shamelessly pinched from Aurifil website

So I took the plunge and did this more than a year ago selling at my classes and workshops.
I have hummed and hawed many a time about considering an online selling presence and this week decided to dip my toe in the water and try selling my threads through my Etsy shop.

In stock at the moment I have only large 1300m spools of 50wt threads available in quite a selection of colours, not quite the 252 available, maybe next year! My top selling colours are - white & black.

Sadly, due to our frankly bonkers UK postage rates, I am only shipping within the UK at the moment. One single spool of Aurifil is classed as a small parcel as it is too chubby to fit through the large letter slot in the P.O. I am offering slightly reduced shipping rates in an effort to be sensible. I do hope you will drop in to my shop and have a look.

Friday 11 July 2014

Past & Present

So I have been pledging my next three months of clearing up my UFOs but what about current projects?

Guess what, I finished another Princess quilt - this is the one I made with all the lovely wee ready cut patches that I won in a recent giveaway from Nellie's Niceties. These were tucked into the parcel that held the main prize of a really sweet cushion and I also got a sizeable chunk of similarly themed fabric that I have used on the  back of this wee quilt. The cut patches were 5" x 2 1/2" and I decided to patch them together in a brick like fashion.

and the back, cute, isn't it?

I made Bee a Brit Stingy blocks for Charlotte, our July Queen Bee. She has asked for Courthouse Steps and has a great tutorial on her blog for ensuring an accurate block.

Recently, a friend brought me back a wee pack of Harris Tweed from her holiday - I spent a fun few hours the other day playing about at improv piecing them with the contents of a scrap pack from Umbrella Prints & some Essex linen. I had bought these scraps with the intention of entering their competition but totally mixed up the dates and left it too late. So my playing has resulted in two panels that might become one. Not sure yet....this is one of them,

Now I bet there are one or two of you reading this who are thinking, what about the re-organisation Sheila??
Well, ok, I did it, I got really stuck in to going through my untidy stash.

So, my stash was housed, by colour, in theses Samla boxes from Ikea. What was irritating me was the scrappy chunks that were mixed in with new pieces, how every time I searched through a box looking for a particular piece I would pretty much ignore the untidy, mis-shapen pieces, some of which had been hanging about - a long time. I changed my rotaryblade and started in, one box at a time over several days. You might be interested to know how I cut my scrappy scraps. Fat quarters and anything that could be cut into almost but not quite, a fat quarter got put back into its box. Anything else was ironed, and cut into 6.5" squares (or strips), 5" charms (or strips), 4.5"; 3.5"; 3"; 2.5"; 2" squares & strips, and 1.5" strips. I became better at efficiently cutting pieces and knowing which sizes I would achieve from a piece of fabric. As I stood during these cutting sessions I would daydream about all the scrappy projects that I saw myself creating..........but first, how to store them? I used quite a few plastic containers from food & veggie purchases, you know, like mushroom boxes. Still not absolutely sorted, still searching for the ideal plastic box, but I have found the pre cuts a new home - in a narrow wee alcove in my sewing room there is just enough room for an old Ikea Benno CD unit - I didn't use it for all that much before, but now I will be storing all my new pre cuts there.
and the bigger pieces? Well, thay have all gone back into their boxes and had neat new labels made using one of my Go dies............I know, I have already been accused of having too much time on my hands -

I am going to try so hard to be tidy and hopefully cut new scraps as I acquire them as I work on a project.
Famous last words??

Wednesday 9 July 2014

My List for FAL Q3

As Q2 drew to a close, I was thinking I wouldn't have much for Q3. But having spent a bit, quite a lot of time sorting and tidying in my sewing room during June, I have managed to compile more than I anticipated.
Bodes well for success, hmmm.
So here goes:- (in order of age)

1. Quite old, 10yrs plus - my Debbie Mumm almanac. This has previously been layer up and quilted and unpicked so now back to quilt top status. Almost vintage now.

2. Advent Calendar for Ava - purchased before last Christmas, was reassured by daughter that GD was too young to understand the concept so breathed a sigh of relief during a busy time and put it aside. Must get it done for this year. All the pockets are made and need stitching onto the panel. I would like to enlarge it a little so need to find some border fabric.

3. This was a Foundation Pieced block that I downloaded from Quilting on the Square some time back.
I enjoyed making it with no particular project in mind. I've backed it bagging style with a fusible interfacing so it's now just ready to press on to a background and maybe make into a cushion?

4. Playing with Selvedges - I had a go at this way back last year, just for fun but think I would like to do something with it, mighht have to put my thinking cap on for this one.

5. This was a 2nd sample I started for a recent workshop - all pieced, it "just" needs quilting and turning into a cushion. Shown here with the backing pieces attached as I tend to quilt back and front of cushions nowadays.

6. This is my final pledge and over hopeful. At the moment it is most of 2 charm packs stitched into 4 patch blocks, and 4m of solid cream fabric. Together they will become a quilt that I have planned as a gift. It has lain a long time, really just need to pull the finger out and get on with it.

A meatier list than for Q2 and I am linking it to Katy at The Littlest Thistle.

Tuesday 8 July 2014


I have other things I should be posting about, but as I sat down to catch up during toddler nap time,I suddenly recalled waking up this morning - I have often read of people, quilters, etc, keeping a notebook by their beds to jot down sleepy time ideas. Never done it, it would involve scrabbling about for specs, finding a pen, knocking something off my table and generally causing mayhem.
But this morning I woke up quite suddenly and was acutely aware of a quilt block in my head, maybe I have seen it somewhere but I decided just now, to have a play on EQ7 and see what might become of it.

So here is Dream Block - 4 Drunkard's Path blocks intersected by narrow sashing and a middle tiny patch.

Wonder what it would look like multiplied into a quilt?

And then I wondered about putting more sashing in, between the blocks..........

and then, maybe switching round some colours and ditching the border,

I could probably waste hours at this, switching colours & values - that's the beauty of EQ7, sometimes you don't ever need to actually  make a quilt. 

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Flaming June

It really has been, here in the West of Scotland, we have been enjoying wall to wall sunshine and some people even think it might be summer.
Despite the beautiful weather I managed to get stuff done, mainly finishing off FAL projects, keeping up with Bee Blocks and Soy Amado blocks (I think Alison is up at quilt no. 46, go look!). I also got a bit obsessed with tidying and sorting my stash but will leave the details for another time.
I made a second big Churn Dash cushion which was well received, and a set of matching play patches for GD, I started a couple of small projects that I can't share just at the moment and finished a quilt which will be gifted on Sunday for my niece's 18th.

I have enjoyed June, and hope you have too. Schools are now on holiday up here so that means I only have six weeks left until my classes start back and then it'll be Christmas before we know it. As always, linking to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.


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