Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Stars in my eyes

I'm a member of the UK Quilters Guild, and, in particular, the Miniature Quilt Group.

They have asked for miniature quilts up to 8" square for a display.

Unfortunately, when I made this, I managed to make it just a little oversized - doh!

I may still send it along, but I'm not sure.

 Whether I do or not, though, I had a lot of fun making it and thinking about how to quilt it, and then doing the actual quilting.

Isn't that the joy of the creative life? Enjoying every step of the project from start to finish!

I've even managed to work on a few larger than this projects - photos to share soon!

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Sewn Presents

 Not much to show still - but when a friend invites you to a retirement party it seems a shame not to sew a few bits and bobs in her favourite colour!

Squishy basket, tissue cover and zippy pouch - the old favourites are favourites for a reason!

Hope that you are managing a bit more crafting or sewing than I am at the moment.  It's just taking me longer than I thought to get back to full sewing strength!

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

The Missing Month

 These might not be a great deal to show for my 'missing month' - but my DH shared Covid with me - and stitching has hardly happened.

Like so many others, I felt poorly, then tested positive, then (eventually!) tested negative, and then..... I've still felt even more worn out than usual.

So, I watched a few short stitching videos, made a couple of tissue holders (yes, these ones with the hand stitching on), and have managed nothing else.

I'm hoping that I'll pick up even more soon, though, so I hope to be back with regular stitching updates in the not too distant future!

Hope that you are all staying safe and well!

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Another Start

I've started another quilt top!

This time I'm making another MSQC one - their Wallah! or Voila! pattern.

It started off with me needing to cut a lot of 5" blocks.  I cut 96 background and 96 mixed others - the background from yardage, the others from smaller pieces of fabric, although I guess that you could make it with just two colours if you wanted to.

These were my piles.

There are two 'sets' of four patch blocks that you need to construct.  One has three 'background' squares, the other has just a single 'background' square.

When they are made, you need to cut across the odd one out in each set, from corner to corner.  Then make a 2" strip with your next cut.

After that, swap these strips around.  I found it easiest to make these in pairs.... then I knew where I was!
You can see how little triangles start to peep out in this 'magic' technique.
When you sew them together, you end up with a block with a stepped edge.  Don't panic  
Then you need to trim it to 8.5" square, as shown here.
When you have four of each type (I called them darks and lights in my head - but you don't need to call them anything, just count them!)  You can lay them out into 'big blocks'.  

You can see the light star in the darks block and the darks star in the lights block.

I won't sew them together until I've made them all - that way I hope that I can get rid of too many places where the same fabrics in my mixed part end up next to each other!
Plenty more cutting and sewing to do before I have a quilt top to show you.  I shall work my way steadily  through my pile until I'm done!

Wednesday, 20 April 2022


I came away from my quilting group meeting (I'm a member of Richmond and Kew Quilters - if you are local come on down and join us!) with several bits of 'homework'!

First there was this fabric postcard to finish - it felt like cheating, as I actually did nothing but machine stitching on it.

Then, the lovely Benta had stitched all the committee members and hangers on (like me!) fancy felt 'starter' patches.  I wanted to make mine a little sturdier, so mounted it on a couple of extra layers and added a brooch back to make it easier to wear at meetings.  It will help make me more visible to other members so that they can approach me if they have a question or suggestion.
Lastly, another Benta initiative, was to make some covered corner blocks with teal squares that Benta provided to us.

Next month we will gather the squares in and turn them into a quilt top ready for donation.

So, all my 'homework' is done for the month, and I'm ready for our May meeting!

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Improv. Nine Patch

A few weeks ago I took a Zoom workshop with Brenda Gael Smith, on improv. crosses called 'The X factor'.  You might remember the tiny 4" quilt that I made at the time.

This is my full size quilt with my resulting blocks.

Although I have one 'x' in the very centre, most of my blocks are actually nine patch crosses, which were more economical with the fabric.  Several different techniques used.

I was using fabrics from my stash.  As I ran out of the paler background fabrics, I decided to stick with  the number that I'd made and add improv strips to two sides to make it roughly square - almost 60".
On the back I used some pale blue chambray, made to the right size with a floral strip.  I was pleased that this worked, as this gives it a link to another quilt that I made earlier in the year when the floral was used as the backing.  I wanted this, as it is destined for another friend - the third leg of a trio that dates back to when I was eight, and moved house and school.
I think that it's worked out OK.  I just hope that my friend likes it too!  It's quite a random gift to arrive out of nowhere, I realise!
This is the only 'flat' shot that I have of it (from when I was about to baste it).  You can see that I was aiming for a darker cross shape within the block layout, then with filled in darker corners too.

I'm just about to take it off to the Post Office.  Safe journey, latest quilt!

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Scrap Cutting and Fab Hab

My scrap drawers were starting to groan with the number of scraps that I'd been adding to them.

You know how it is, sometimes when you finish a project you just want to get on with the next one, instead of sorting out the scraps properly!

It's time to sort them out!

I'm cutting to my usual 'recipe'.  10" squares from the  scraps that are large enough for them, then 5" squares, 3.5" squares, 2.5" strips, 1.5" squares, 1.25" strips.  Anything else that appears (for example 2" strips, for some reason!) is put into a colour coded bag of scraps.  

It all packs into the drawers a little better, but reminds me that I need to start planning some more scrap projects!

And my 'fab hab'?  This darling little mini cupboard (it said on the box that it was a tea box) that DD1 gave me for mothers day.  Perfect for storing / displaying my coloured threads - the neutrals will stay in the cupboard!

Not the vintage haberdashery display counters and drawers that I lust after on the auction sites, but a mini nod to them!

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Fun New Little Project

I've made a couple of notepad covers.

Fun! Quite fast!

I watched a 'Quilting Platter' recently - a set of 15 minute mini classes with a whole variety of textile artists.

This was my favourite mini project.  A notebook cover for a 3" x 5" notebook that is made from a 10" square of fabric and some wadding.

It is designed by Lisa Shepard Stewart of Cultured Expressions.

You start off by folding your 10" square into an envelope shape and using it as a template to cut your wadding.

Then it's time to quilt the item - I had fun with this!

Then the 'flap' is folded up and two lines of stitching, about 1/4" off the centre point, are sewn to make a spine (or a space for a pen - I've ordered some short pens for this purpose!).

Then, short seams up the sides in order to provide some support to the pad when you add it in - and to make a little pocket that could keep business cards or receipts in.
I thought about it, and then added an elastic to keep the notebook closed.

A line of zig zag on the back of the notebook to hold it in place.
I liked it so much that I made another, trying to use the selvedge that says 'little darling', but knowing that it would be upside down!
Still, another little gift for someone made.  I will dig out my 10" squares and see what I'll make next.


Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Delectable Mountains for Good Friends.

A striking design!

I have some very good friends who got married, so obviously, I wanted to make them a quilt.

One wanted rich, dark colours.

One wanted something brighter.

They compromised on 'New England Fall'.  My photos don't do justice to the red, but despite wondering if I should dot the colour blocks around the quilt, like different trees colouring at different times, I went with stripes, moving out from bright to dark.

The quilting - in rich yellow - was mostly a meander, but with leaves and a few flowers included.
Some simpler than others, but overall I was happy with the effect.
The bulk of the top is made of 'delectable mountains' - a 'disappearing' block that starts with half square triangles.

This was my chosen block as they live within sight of Snowdonia.

The backing was some mad owl fabric that was in my stash.

And the final blocks might just look like a counterchange block to you, but I'm hoping that they will be able to squint and see it as a D (gold) and J (brown), which are the initials of the couple.
Here it is thrown over the sofa in my craft room, just before it was packed up and sent off.

Hope that they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Approximately 60" square.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Disappearing 4-Patch

So, I made a mini!

I was looking through lots of 'disappearing' quilt block ideas, when I realised that I'd never actually made a two colour 4-patch disappearing quilt.

I didn't want to invest lots of time or fabric into this mini trial, so I started with 2.5" squares.

Just a 24 squares to start me off - less than two 'width of fabric' 2.5" strips.

Then I sewed them into four patches.  each 4.5" square.
Then time to slice and dice.  I wondered about cutting 3/4" each side of the centre seam, but realised that it gave me too fat a 'slice' of the centre portions, so I reduced it to 1/2" each side of the centre.

Cutting first.

Turning the centre strips to give the contrast required.
Sewing the resulting 9-patch together.

Repeat 6 times, and sew the blocks together.

I have to be honest, some were more accurate than others.

If I'd started off with 10" squares of fabric I'm sure that it wouldn't have been noticed, but it's all a bit 'on show' when you make small quilts!

Then it was time to back and baste before the quilting happened.

I started with a wiggly spine feather, then filled in all around it with 'graffiti' quilting - just some doodling with needle and thread.

 A narrow binding and a little hanging sleeve to complete it.  Finished size 6.5" x 9.5".

Gotta love diseappearing blocks!

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Improv Mini

I recently took an online workshop with Brenda Gael Smith.

Called the X-factor workshop, she taught us four different cross designs in an improv style.

Great fun!

Of course, she taught us using 10" squares - I hope to have a quilt top put together to show you soon - but I love mini quilts, so decided to downsize a bit.

This was made using 10 x 2.5" squares from my scrap basket (yes, I had one block left over).  It finishes at just over 4" square, and looks great on my shelf!

Wednesday, 2 March 2022


 I've made this Ukraine flag with the word 'peace' in Ukrainian.

Made from the pattern designed by Berene Campbell of @happysewlucky.  You can find it here.

The money that I didn't spend on this pattern, as it is free, I've donated to the Red Cross campaign.

Perhaps you'd like to do something similar?

Apart from donations to organisations that might be able to help, I don't know what else I can do.  I feel as though I've been catapulted back to the 80's, with a display of violence and political upheaval that I haven't seen for the lifetime of my children.

Another suggestion that I saw online was that we could support Etsy sellers in Ukraine by searching for digital items with the country set to Ukraine and purchasing them.  I haven't tried that yet.

Sending good thoughts to everyone who is suffering, however they are involved or connected.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Christmas Crown Tutorial

A rack of hats? A millinery of hats? A fascination of hats?  Choose your own collective noun! 

What I actually have is a dozen hats ready for Christmas, as we're moving away from Christmas crackers.

Time to write an outline tutorial, in case I find that I need to make some more!

The basic pattern is based on a sheet of A4.  To make your own, cut a 5" strip of the longest length of your A4 paper.

Fold a 1/4"  for a tab overlap at one end, and then fold the rest into quarters.  Mark 4 points for the top, and draw a line at 2/5" up the strip, and join the top points up with the line with 45 degree lines to make the crown shape.

You will use the pattern piece twice, ending up with a shape that is roughly 23.25" long and 5" tall, with 8 points and a tab at either end.

I drew round the template onto interfacing and interlocked the patterns (with a slight offset at each end so that the points interlocked).  I made six pairs.  It's economical for your interfacing and fabric to do this.

Next I ironed the interfacing onto  the wrong side of one of my fabrics, keeping the pair together.

Then, layer up with the second fabric, right sides together.

Sewing next!  Sew 1/4" in from the drawn lines, sew around the two hats, leaving a generous opening to turn through open along the plain edge of the crown.

When sewing around the 'tabs' I made one closed and one open.  Once the crown is turned through you can then turn  under the edge of the open one and slot the closed one into it.  It makes it quite easy!

Once the sewing is finished, cut the hats apart down the drawn lines.

Then trim off the points and clip the valleys, being careful not to snip through the stitching.

Settle down for a few minutes of hat wrangling, turning through to show the right sides of both fabrics, and poking out the points as well as you can.

Once it's turned through, it's time to slot those tabs together and make the flat shape into a round crown.

I might also iron the creases to make sure the seam over the turning gap stays neat.
Time to top stitch now!  

I start by making a row of stitches down the tab, to join the crown ends together.  Then top stitch around all the points, stitch again down the tab, and then along the bottom of the crown, which will sew the turning gap closed.
Done!  Repeat until you have sufficient for your needs.

I did also make one with a ribbon tie (sewn in at both 'tabs') so it could be a variable size, but after trying the sewn version on a variety of head sizes, I decided that I didn't need to do that.

I was going to decorate them with sequins and beads, but decided that I'd rather be able to wash and iron them easily!