Wednesday 28 December 2022

Now I can show you.....

Now that the Big Day is past (Season's Greetings, by the way!) I can show you this little mini that I made and gifted to Benta.

I used a Bernina free pattern as the start point, which you can find here  but made the bird houses with different Christmas fabrics, and added the other motifs to fit the theme.

The quilting was a simple free motion meander, shown here on the back (which was pale green, rather than the white that it looks here!).
Neatly rolled into a sausage shape around it's hanging pole (I'd added triangles to hang it by when I put on the binding, no photo of them though), I had a scrap of fabric to make the perfect sized fabric bag for it.

I hope you like it, Benta!

And to everyone who reads this, Happy New Year!

I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy 2023.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Finished is better than Perfect!

I sewed the eight parts of my mariners compass together, then inserted them into a dark grey background.

The insertion wasn't too bad, but some of the bits inside the compass weren't quite perfect!  Not to worry - I'm still quite proud of the overall effect!

My DD2 spotted it and quite fancied it for her room.  In a blink of an eye it had a border (to make it match the size of a spare cushion that I had!), some very simple quilting (shown on the back of it here), and then a envelope back added.

 Finished!  One more cushion cover, happily received into DD2's room!

I'm pleased that I don't have it as an unfinished project, she's pleased that she has an additional cushion.  Happiness all round!

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Tis the Season!

Another Zoom date with my Miniature Quilt Group (special interest group of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles)!

This one, led by Corinne Curtis (thank you Corrinne!).  You can see more of her work here.

She encouraged us to make a small quilt sandwich, and either 'quilt as you go' with strips (I used decorative stitches, but needed plainer fabric for them to show up better) or free motion quilt mini pictures on them.  She also told us how to partly cut the shape to insert a ribbon loop before doing all the stitching, which was a fab tip!

We all had fun!

And this was the result of a talk by Joy Harber (nee Salvage) about her amazing quilts, when she also described making log cabin blocks using a chain pieced strip method.  No foundation, just using strips 3/4" wide and working round the central square.

I loved making this, but can't imagine making the quantities that Joy does to make large quilts.  This is a coaster size and that suits me just fine!

 My final festive flourish was to make a couple of hot water bottle covers, ready for the chilliness of winter!  I think that they are going to be well used this season!

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Mariners Compass Workshop

Recently I took an online workshop (through the Miniatures Group of the Quilters Guild, UK).  Or at least, the first part and then some 'homework'.  Unfortunately I'm going to miss the second part of this class with Judi O'May, which is a shame, as I really enjoyed the first part, and would have enjoyed getting her tips on how to complete the compass!

Still, here are a couple of 'process' shots.

You can see that I had neat stacks of fabric pieces under card templates - all labelled up with what piece number it was (and how many I had to cut and which colour - there was a lot of info on some of those tiny peices!).

I meant that I could lift up the bits that I needed in order to apply them to the paper foundation pieces.

You can see the start of one of the segments here.

After about 8 hours work, I'd completed 8 segments of a mariners compass block.  

Are the perfect? Not quite.  But am I concerned? No, not at all! It still looks great to me.  Feels like years since I last made one, and I'm pretty sure that these 192 pieces of fabric show more points than I've attempted in the past!

I'll let you look at it again once I've made more progress!

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Cherille's Scraptastic!

Not too long ago, I'd asked another member of Richmond and Kew Quilters for an old pair of jeans, ready for cutting up for a pin cushion workshop that I'm planning to run for the group next year.

Cherille is VERY kind - and gave me not only the requested denim, but also lots of other fabrics that might be suitable, and even a book about making pincushions!  Super generous, as so many people in the quilting world seem to be.  Perhaps the art of stitching makes us all nicer people?

Anyway, after I'd cut appropriate shapes and amounts of fabric, I still had a lot left.  I decided that even though they were different styles and shapes of fabrics, it would be fun to make a scrap quilt with them.

This is it!  I added just a few small squares from my own scrap drawers in order to make the shape that I wanted.  Isn't it fun?  

I shall let Cherille decide whether she wants to keep it or gift it, and hope to pass it over to her at our next meeting.

Thanks Cherille!

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Autumn Colours

I decided that the Christmas coloured wreath I showed a fortnight ago was a bit premature!  I wanted something that would work as an ornament right now (impatient!) so make this one in autumn colours.  In the centre is a group of three mini bells.  

I'm pleased that I have a little seasonal decoration to hang!

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Ocean Deep

My Quilt Group (Richmond and Kew Quilters - come on and see us if you are local!) hold regular challenges.  This month it's 'ocean or seaside inspired A3'.  Now, I might just be drummed out, as this is slightly larger than A3, but it's my attempt at a dolphin, using a cross stitch pattern to give me the 'pixel picture'.

Fun to do - I have a box of 1.5" squares just ready to go for this type of project.

The quilting shows up better on the back that the front.  I was going for sea whorls around the smoother dolphin shape.

Wednesday 2 November 2022

Too Soon?

Too soon to be playing with an idea that I picked up from Pintrest (thank you, Pintrest!)?  Fun wreath shape with EPP and a little ribbon and a bell.  A simple project that I think looks good.  Perfect simple stitching.
Aside from that I've been helping Georgie with her Christmas stock.  She made most of it last January / February, but just wanted a few brighter fabrics included, so we went shopping, and then got cutting and sewing.

FabWraps is just about to hit it's pre-Christmas stride!  I should get these new fabrics added to the Etsy shop!

 One of the fabrics she bought is this one - which makes me laugh!  It's got everything - unicorns in santa hats, candy canes, snowflakes, rainbows......  I think that I need to go back to FabricLand and buy some more for my own Christmas wrapping.  

Hope that you are also finding things to laugh about amidst the chaos. 

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Jewel Finish

Finished!  I'm really pleased with this little (54" square) quilt!

It's very simple - starting with a bunch of 3.5" squares and some sashing - but shows off the fabrics beautifully, which is what I wanted. 

They are a mix of some from my own scrap drawer, but a lot from a quilting friend, Cherille.  They work beautifully together.  Thanks, Cherille!

.This is the back.  All quite simple.
And the quilting was also simple, just enough with a variagated thread to hold everything in place, without taking anything away from the fabrics.

It all works well together!

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Improv Dandelion Clocks

On Saturday I enjoyed an online workshop with Jo Avery - making an improv dandelion clock.

Good fun!

This is my set of four blocks joined together, finishing at 24" square.

It will probably become a medallion centre to a scrappy quilt, but I'm not sure yet.

Of course, that felt a little on the large size, so I made some smaller blocks too, backed with some more joined together fabrics, which are shown here so you can see how I quilted the little mini that I made.
Finishing at 9" square, this is my mini, all ready to go up onto the wall to remind me of a fun day and a useful improve technique.

It was organised by the miniature group which is part of the quilters guild.  Thanks gals!


Wednesday 12 October 2022


I was working away on my quilt - but when I trimmed the edges after quilting, I had a nice long strip that seemed perfect to make 'Herb' - pattern from RicRac - so I got distracted!
Then, as I was finishing it, my DD2 spotted it and fell in love - so I ended up making a second one, having thought that my great niece might like one, which is why I'd got the pattern in the first place!

Fun distractions, quite fast to make, even though I can see that I still have some skill gaps in how to make the perfect soft toy! (all down to me, not the pattern, which is great!).

Wednesday 5 October 2022

It's Happening!

 I've made a start!  Here is the jewel box quilt (just 3" blocks sashed and on point) stuck to my living room floor, having just been basted.

Quilting, trimming and binding will follow.  It feels nice to be making a quilt!

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Tutorial - A5 pouch

Need to make a simple pouch like this for A5 papers (or A4 folded in half)? Here's how!
Start with:
      1 x 7.5” x 21” fabric (outer – avoid directional prints)     
 1 x 7.5” x 21” fabric (lining)  or you could use just 1 x 7.5” x Width of Fabric (inside and  outside will be the same).
   1 x button or snap fastening.

How to make.
  Cut your fabric, and lay right sides together.
  At one of the short ends,  measure 1” each way from one corner, mark a diagonal line between them, and cut off the resulting triangle through both pieces of fabric.  Repeat for the other corner at that short end.  This will form the shape for the flap.
 Pin if desired and start sewing the two pieces together using a ¼” seam allowance, starting about half way down one of the long sides. Sew almost all the way round, but be careful to leave a gap of about 3” to turn the pouch through.

Clip the excess fabric from the corners and turn through.
  Press neatly.
 Top stitch along the straight short edge, 1/16” from the edge.
 Fold the straight short edge up 8” to create the pouch and pin. (if you are confident with the positioning you can add a button or snap to the straight edge before you do this).
  Starting at what will now be the bottom of the pouch, top stitch, 1/16” from the edge in one continuous line from the bottom of the pouch, right up and around the flap and down the other side to the bottom of the pouch of the opposite side.  You may wish to ‘forwards and backwards’ to reinforce the start and end of the stitching, and perhaps at the top edge of the pouch too.  This top stitching not only forms the pouch sides, but also seals the gap where you turned through the pouch.

 OPTIONAL: Measure a line 3” up from the edge of the flap and sew across this line.  It will help the flap to hang neatly but isn’t definitely required.
  Make the correct size button hole at the appropriate place on the flap, then sew the button to the pouch OR add the second part of the snap. (Just for information, when I make these I put one button in the middle, 1” to 1 ¼” from the top edge of the pouch, and the button hole 1” up from the lower edge of the flap).
Admire your lovely pouch!


Wednesday 21 September 2022

Starting a new quilt

A quilting friend gave me some of her scraps. Lucky me!  I've cut them into the sizes that I commonly use, and have decided to use some of my 3.5" squares to make a simple quilt.
Sashing them with black is an unusual choice for me - I love the look but find it difficult to sew on sometimes.

Inside the quilt the sewing is all with white thread - easy to see and unpick if necessary!

After sashing was added on one side, I'd add a long strip / sashing to the top of the pieced, then it was ready to add to the quilt top.

It is based on an idea I saw on Pintrest, but I don't often make quilts with the blocks on point, so it's making me have to think about it!

Here is what I have so far, laid out on my 'design bed'!

Still more to do!

Friday 16 September 2022

It's been a while.....!

I can't believe that it's two months since I last blogged!  

Not a lot of sewing since then - it's been the summer holidays, and I've also moved from my previous sewing space to a smaller one, which took quite a lot of energy!

The sewing things are all in the right place now (more or less) but my books and items relating to other crafts are in a different space and still need to be sorted out properly.  This will happen over the next few weeks.

So, what sewing have I done?  Well, there was this 12" block, which will be added to others made by my quilting group to make a group quilt.  This one was with a disappearing technique. and started with two 10" squares, but needed a border to bring it up to the right size.

I've also refashioned an item of denim clothing for another quilt group challenge.  This was a skirt, and you can see that I haven't done that much to it to re-fashion it as a beach bag that DD2 is looking forward to using next summer.

Finally, I put together blocks that a fair number of us had made from my quilting group, then finished the quilt and entered it in the Kew Horticultural Show.  We were pleased to win Third Prize!

It's a cute baby quilt that will make a lovely donation.

Not oodles to show for the summer, but lots of lovely memories with my family, which are more valuable than anything else!

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!