A catch up and some quilty loveliness..

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Oh what a terrible blogger I am. It has been so very long since my last post. Unfortunately, I have had a few issues with the internet. Superfast broadband does not seem to have reached our little corner of the midlands and the slow speeds meant that it was rather difficult to upload any photos But I have finally managed to coax a few onto this site so hopefully I can lure my readers back with pictures of pretty quilts…

Life has been extremely busy for the past few months. I’ve been working very hard in my new job and consequently haven’t had very much time or even motivation to sew. I have a great many projects on the go however so I need to get back to it. Perhaps the longer days and a bit more sunshine will provide me with the encouragement that I need!

We finally managed to take a break just before Easter and we spent a week on holiday in South Wales. We found a lovely lodge near the town of Narberth which overlooked a little lake that was home to several rather fat (and quite chatty) ducks:

I called these two crested ducks Barbara and Belinda. They were always the first to arrive when there was stale bread on offer…

There is so much to do in Pembrokeshire and, of course, there is some stunning coastline to explore. However, all this paled into insignificance when I discovered that there was a quilt exhibition taking place nearby! The Landsker quilters, who are based in Narberth, hold an annual exhibition to showcase their work and, this year, it took place at Picton Castle, which was only 15 minutes’ drive from where we were staying. Oh happy days!

I made a beeline for the gallery as soon as we arrived at the castle (the husband disappeared off somewhere)and I was delighted with the beautiful creations on display:

This was my absolutely favourite quilt. I spent quite a long time peering closely at it to try to work out how it had been constructed. I love the contrast of the dark blues with the pastel colours. Really clever.

This small quilt also impressed me:

I do admire those quilters who can deal with curves. They quite frighten me!

My eye was caught by this rather cute catty creation:

I was quite inspired by this sea-themed quilt too:

I’ll admit, I mainly went to Picton Castle for the quilts but, if you’re ever in the area, I would highly recommend a visit. The gardens are just beautiful. Even in early Spring there were lots of flowers and they had a wonderful herb garden which featured several herbs that I’d never heard of before.

Just before our little trip to Wales I also paid a visit to the British Quilt and Stitch village which is held at Uttoxeter racecourse. There were, as always, plenty of stalls where I could have spent my life savings on fabric but I’m happy to report that I was very restrained (it is the Quilt Festival next month after all…) and I mainly spent the time admiring the competition quilts. Here are a few pictures of my favourites:

I just loved the brightness of the colours used in this quilt. And how sweet are the little ears!

I loved the bright colours in this quilt too:

And this one:

It rather reminded me of a scene from a Dr. Seuss book!!

This beautiful appliqued creation also caught my eye:

I just don’t have the patience required to create something like this!!!

I thought this quilt was rather topical. I think that its title was something like Should I stay or should I go?

I’m not a huge fan of what is termed as negative space in quilting but I thought that this quilt used it rather cleverly:

I thought that the quilting in this particular quilt was just stunning.

Well, I do hope that you have enjoyed perusing the quilty creations in today’s post. For those of you who are quilters, I hope that you have perhaps been inspired. I certainly am…

Till next time…

April

Armfuls of arcs…

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This week I have mostly been foundation piecing arcs for my next quilty creation:

arcs

Aren’t the colours just beautiful? They are all from Dashwood studio and I picked them all out with the help of the lovely Anne from Quiltessential. Even though I know that the finished quilt will be really quite pretty I’m beginning to get a little bit, well, bored of all this piecing and I’m looking forward to moving on soon to creating the blocks. I’m not quite certain how smoothly this will go as it involves curved piecing and possibly the use of something that is, rather entertainingly (for me at least), known as a purple thang. I do not currently own a purple thang and I had no idea what this was until I consulted sewing friends on a Facebook group. Apparently this is a well-known little gadget for keen sewers…I am wondering whether I can just get away with using some sort of straw with a flattened end….!!

Last Friday I had a much-needed day’s leave and I popped down to London to meet up with my very best friend. We arranged to find one another at the V&A and I was somewhat affronted to be asked to surrender my craft scissors. I thought I’d use the train journey to work on a little embroidery kit so I just popped them in with the thread completely forgetting that, in this age of heightened security, they might be questioned. I was able to collect them again on my way out of the museum but I did feel a little awkward when I presented my little keyring and they then proceeded to open a plastic ziplocked bag with ‘EVIDENCE’ emblazoned across it…

We could have spent all day in the museum but we had a great deal of catching up to do so we perused a few of the exhibits before deciding that we needed tea and some sort of cake. The V&A is housed in such a beautiful building and the tiles may inspire a future patchwork creation:

va-tiles1

vatiles2

I also managed a little trip to Liberty where this beautiful collection of fabric just ‘fell’ into my hands:

dsc_0113

I’m not completely certain what I’m going to make with it yet. I’m wondering about making a quilt using dresden plates but I’ll have to peruse Pinterest for a few ideas..

My favourite crafty blog at the moment is Blossom Quilt and Craft. It provides an opportunity to practice my French and I can look at pretty quilts at the same time! 🙂 Its author, Alice, participates in a lot of Quilting Bees and I’ve decided that I might like to take part in one at some point in the future. So, as a first step, I have of course purchased another quilting book….quilt-book

quilt-book-2

Amy Gibson provides patterns for 50 different 12-inch quilt blocks that can be combined into hundreds of different quilts. She’s completely updated the concept of the sampler quilt and offers a few designs at the end to provide a little inspiration! This book is currently kept beside my bed so I can read it at the end of the day and fall off to sleep dreaming of quilt patterns…

And on that note, I think it might be time to say goodbye for this evening.

Wishing you happy, fabric-filled dreams….

April x

Traditional versus Modern….

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Hello again everyone. Happy New Year! It’s been a while! My apologies for failing to update my blog over the past few months. Since my last post, I have been trying to regain my balance a little. Despite making several plans, I have failed to complete any sewing projects since September. I’m hoping that, as things get better, there will be more progress with the sewing.

As ever, I’ve tried to keep up with the world of quilting by reading various blogs and my monthly copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting. I am facing a bit of a dilemma at the moment as, although I enjoy reading LPAQ, there haven’t been many projects in recent copies that I have felt tempted to make. Whilst the projects are always very impressive, they tend to use a lot of block colour (sometimes focussing on just one colour) and they would probably be described as ‘modern’ quilt projects.

magazines-1

I’ve recently been given a couple of copies of a new magazine, Today’s Quilter, (a new-ish publication in the Quilting World that is edited by former LPAQ editor Jenny Fox-Proverbs) and I’ve been considering this option too.

There has been much discussion in the quilting world about what’s known as ‘modern’ quilting. According to the website of the Modern Quilt Guild ‘modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colours and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid colour, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work.’

Some of you will know that I joined the Quilters’ Guild a couple of years’ ago. They are the primary organiser of the Festival of Quilts and they always have a large stand at the festival. I was devastated to discover that The Quilt Museum would close due to a lack of funds so I thought that I could, in a small way, try to help by becoming a member of the Guild. All members receive a copy of the guild’s magazine, The Quilter, every quarter. In the most recent edition I read an interesting article written by Quilter Extraordinaire and All-Round Sewing Wonder Woman, Jo Avery (of My Bearpaw), who explained why she decided to re-join the Quilters’ Guild. There are several references in the article to ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ quilting. Jo identifies herself as a ‘modern’ quilter. Her quilts are always absolutely beautiful and, although they do contain elements of the ‘modern’ quilt, there is always an aspect of them that can be linked to ‘traditional’ quilting. Perhaps this is why Jo’s projects appear in a range of magazines that cross both spheres.

the-quilter

So where do I stand in all of this? If I am going to make a quilt for our home, a rather lovely Victorian terrace, then I am perhaps more drawn to ‘traditional’ patterns. You will all have noticed that I absolutely love fabric designs that are based on old French patterns. French General is a favourite and I loved the designs of the fabric in the shops that I discovered in Marseille.

So am I a traditional quilter? Hmmm. I personally think that all art (as, indeed, quilting is an art-form) is a product of what has come before. Our quilting predecessors initially made quilts out of necessity. They didn’t have the luxury of brand new fabrics or all of the wonderful tools that makes our craft a little easier. The designs that were created were a product of society and circumstance. Now, perhaps, we have the luxury of choice. But we still use designs and techniques that have been around for centuries. We owe much to our quilting predecessors, even those of perhaps just a generation ago. We have simply reinterpreted the craft for the society and circumstance in which we find ourselves.

I still have much to learn so, for now, I think I will just keep reading and learning. I don’t think that I’ll ever be a designer but I hope that, whatever I create, my friends and family will appreciate my efforts. I think my approach at the moment isn’t so much ‘modern’ or ‘traditional’ but rather ‘hope for the best’ and ‘pray that my lines aren’t too wonky’ 😉

Till next time!

April

 

Musings…

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I often wonder how much about myself I should reveal on this little blog of mine. I initially started writing it as I wanted to share my forays into the world of sewing and quilting. However, over time, it has evolved and now I tend to write about anything that I find particularly interesting. But I always try to present the ‘good bits’ rather than anything negative and, indeed, having read other blogs, I think that other bloggers tend to do this too. The only time that I have deviated from the chirpy personality that I try to portray was in this post which was written during one of the most difficult periods of my life to date.

Things improved, however, and I returned to my light-hearted manner of writing about my adventures (or misadventures) in sewing.

Unfortunately, I once again find myself struggling and am finding it a little difficult to remain positive. Having been through this battle once, I do have some coping techniques and I know that all will improve soon. One of the worst symptoms of this illness, however, is utter exhaustion and the total lack of motivation to do anything useful. There has been very little singing over the past few weeks (a sure sign that I’m feeling low) and, worst of all, I had to miss the Festival of Quilts. Since I look forward to this more than I look forward to Christmas, you can imagine my utter devastation. To try to make it up for this, the husband did take me to a wonderful shop called Quiltessential in which copious amounts of fabric was purchased (therapy of course…) and I have tried to do a little sewing when I can but I don’t have a great deal of stamina right now.

As I haven’t had a great deal of energy, I’ve been reading my sewing magazines and other blogs and the content of one post in particular resonated with me. It was written by Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilts. The particular entry that I’m referring to can be found at:

https://catbirdquilts.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/be-powerful-create-2/

Melanie explains her reasoning for her tagline ‘Be Powerful. CREATE’:

“I find creation to be powerful. My tagline on my blog is “Be powerful. CREATE!” I mentioned when we visited in July about my work to regain my personal power after my illness. And I have found that expression through writing and designing, and transforming ideas and colors and shapes into tangible objects is one of the primary ways [for me] to build power.

I keep pushing my personal boundaries of what I can do. That growth makes me more powerful and MORE OF THE PERSON I AM.”

(Re-written here with the kind permission of Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilts)

I completely agree with her. The last time that I was poorly, I found that sewing became a sort of therapy. For months, I did nothing. I couldn’t do anything. But my counsellor encouraged me to try small projects and to start writing again and little by little, things got better. Melanie is completely right. Creation (in whatever form) is powerful. So this time, I am trying to still do a little creating. I have baked a banana cake (seriously good recipe on bbc good food). I have done a little log-cabin quilting and I have made a couple of cushions. As Melanie says ‘All I know is that creation helps me become myself. And becoming myself is powerful.’ The last time I was poorly, I lost myself. I forgot who I was and it was a very long process to re-discover my abilities and my confidence. The time, I am determined not to allow this to happen. I hope that I will soon begin to feel very much better and I hope that ‘creating’, whether I’m sewing, writing, baking or singing, will help me in this process.

So, no pictures today I’m afraid but just a little post for those who might be going through something similar. Sometimes, even when you don’t feel like doing something, if you can find just a little motivation then it is amazing how much it can help. The day that I baked the banana cake was a difficult one. But I was so proud of myself that I managed to get the ingredients together in a bowl and make a delicious cake. It was half an hour out of my day but it was half an hour when I felt like myself again.

My thanks again to Melanie for her inspirational post and her kind permission to allow me to quote some of her wording in my own post.

Love, April

 

 

A little quilt for a little Lily…

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In a previous post, I mentioned that I’d been given some lovely material when I went to the Stitch Gathering in Edinburgh last year. I used this fabric (from Cori Dantini’s The Makers collection) to make a quilt for a friend’s new little arrival, Lily. Unfortunately, I ran out of fabric before I could finish the quilt and was a bit stumped as I couldn’t seem to find much online. Happily this problem was resolved during a recent trip to The Fabric Guild where I discovered several fat quarters  in the same collection so  I could finally crack on with finishing it. I was quite relieved as I was a bit worried that Lily might have grown up before I could present her with the finished quilt!

I hope that this might inspire Lily to take up sewing in the future…

Front of Lilys quilt

As I only had fat quarters, I decided to sew them all together in a courthouse steps design so that I could create a backing ‘fabric’ for the quilt. It was a little bit improvised and I just carried on adding strips to the main square but I do think that it looks quite good.

Backing of Lilys quilt

I did a little bit of free-motion quilting on each side in a flower design (about the only design that I can successfully complete at the moment). I know that the recommended stitch-length for free-motion sewing is about 1/8 of an inch. Sometimes I achieved this…sometimes I didn’t…but I don’t think it looks too awful overall! I also sewed a few hearts at the top and bottom of the design and added a bit of ‘stitch-in-the-ditch’ quilting just to join the middle section to the backing fabric.

Close up of flower quilting

I took my quilt top to a nearby sewing emporium to ‘audition’ binding for the quilt as I wasn’t quite certain what would work as a border. I hadn’t expected to choose green but I think it works wonderfully and really brings the colours together. I finally bought the binding from Higgs and Higgs, who have a brilliant selection. Definitely a good find for future makes.

This is my second completed quilt and, as ever, I learned a few things whilst I was completing it:

  1. Don’t just start trying to make a quilt-top because you’ve got some really pretty fabric and you really, really wan’t to use it. Have a plan! Had I planned this, I might not have taken quite as long to complete it! I kind of made it up as I went along. Happily, the finished result isn’t too awful..
  2. Using a very small cutting board is not ideal for cutting out your fabric when you are making anything bigger than a placemat. You therefore need to prevail on your husband to buy you a much, much bigger one as, fortuitously, your birthday is approaching…
  3. Use fabric basting spray to bind your quilt layers together. It’s a revelation. No pinning and you can re-position your fabric as many times as you like!
  4. Spend time looking at different types and colours of binding. I was just going to order some pink binding but I’m so pleased that I had a bit of time to consider different colours.

I really do feel that I am developing my skills in this craft and I am also particularly proud of my mitred corners! I do hope that Lily will like it!

Well, I hope that you are enjoying this sunny afternoon wherever you are. Look out for my next post, which will undoubtedly feature my annual visit to the Festival of Quilts. Only a week to go!!!

Happy crafting,

April

 

 

A wedding, a weekend away and some foundation paper-piecing..

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Hello again everyone. And hello to the sunshine! How lovely to feel the warmth on my skin and to be able to wear a floaty summer dress rather than leggings and layers! It’s been a truly glorious couple of days and, happily, I’m also on holiday. How fortuitous!

Last weekend we travelled up to Yorkshire for a family wedding. We stayed in a delightful bed and breakfast called The Cornmill. I loved all of the flowers and particularly the extensive vegetable garden. We were very envious as the slugs have been particularly vicious this year and have eaten almost everything that we’ve planted! Anyway, here are a few pictures (of The Cornmill, not of the slugs feasting on our vegetables..):Flowers

Flowers 2

Broad beans

Flowers on wall

And a couple of ‘arty’ ones in black and white…

Little door

window

The wedding itself was held at Deepdale Farm. Sadly the weather was not quite as glorious but it hardly mattered. There was plenty of cake, plenty of laughter and a ceilidh. I thought that the styling was just lovely so took a few pictures:

Wedding sign Wedding barn

Watering can flowers 2

Cosy blankets

Watering can flowers

We were very grateful for the cosy blankets! Although we soon warmed up when the ceilidh started (it really is good exercise!)

In the few hours that I’ve had spare I’ve been working on a paper-pieced block (from a pattern found on Wombat Quilts). This block will become a mini quilt that I’m hoping to send to my Granny. As it’s such a nice day, I’ve managed to take a reasonable picture:

FPP block for mini quilt

This block was quite challenging. I thought that I’d been reasonably precise when I traced each copy of the template. However, once I started joining each piece together, I discovered that I hadn’t been terribly accurate after all! A few choice words may have been uttered! This is definitely ‘high-faff’ sewing but I think that the finished block was worth the effort. Hopefully my Granny will appreciate it too (and won’t look too closely at my uneven points!). With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to share the completed quilt on my next blog post.

Well, I’m off to sit in the sunshine but, just before I go, here is a summery picture of a couple of deck chairs (taken at a recent trip to vintage fair):

Deckchairs

Enjoy your evening 🙂

Thoughts on the Sewing Bee and other ramblings..

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I am often asked (during sewing-related conversations) whether I am able to sew clothes as well as patchwork and quilts.  I have considered increasing my stitching repertoire by learning to sew simple garments (such as a fifties skirt for example) but, quite honestly, I think that dressmaking really is a skill in itself and I have enough to concentrate on just trying to master the art of quilting without further confusing myself with dress patterns!

Avid sewers will no doubt have been watching the Great British Sewing Bee, which has been showing on BBC 2 for the past few weeks. I have faithfully watched every series since it started but I do wish that the programme’s producers would consider including weeks during which the sewers make items other than garments. Making a bag, for example, can be quite technically challenging and would be a good test of sewing skills. Similarly, making and attaching piping is quite difficult (or is that just me?!) and including a few more hand-sewing techniques (such as embroidery or applique) might vary the formula a little. It would be nice to see a few other skills included, rather than just dressmaking. Out of the three challenges I usually most enjoy the alteration challenge as this allows the sewers to be a little creative. I particularly liked the alternation challenge during ‘International Week’ and I was extremely impressed with the contestants’ sari creations..

As ever, life has somewhat got in the way of the sewing lately but I have been beavering away on a few little projects. The husband was kind enough to buy me a copy of Fifty Fat Quarter Makes recently and, following a request for a mini ipad cover from a colleague, I thought I’d have a go at making this e-reader pouch:

50 fat quarter makes

E-reader pattern

When I initially read the pattern I was a little concerned as I found the instructions somewhat difficult to follow but, once I’d cut out the fabric and followed the steps, it wasn’t too challenging. I’m quite pleased with the finished result (just don’t look too closely at my top-stitching on the flap!)

Ereader case - prototype

Ereader case - with tablet

I also finally understood the logistics of turning out a pouch and inserting lining! It’s been somewhat of a conundrum for a while now!

Now that I have a successful prototype, I can attempt to make a half-decent version for my colleague! She has requested one in this linen fabric and I’ll ‘pretty it up’ with some of this rose-patterned fabric too!

Rose linen fabric

Speaking of pretty rose fabric, I don’t think that I ever shared a picture of my re-upholstered seat cushion:

Reupholstered chair

Our cat Mirabelle loves it. She clearly thinks that I re-upholstered it just for her!! She does not understand that this is my sewing chair and frequently leaves it liberally coated with black hair that then ends up covering both my clothes and whatever I’m sewing…

I am also making some bunting out of these delicious fabrics purchased at the Quilt Festival last year:

Bunting triangles

The bunting is a little gift for a colleague who will shortly become a Mummy and I couldn’t be happier for her 🙂

In non-sewing news, following the release of the film Me before you, I thought that I would have a read of the book by Jojo Moyes. I pretty much started reading and couldn’t stop. I read it on the train, whilst cooking, before going to sleep… I think that I finished it within two days. It’s extremely thought-provoking. I had intended on making the husband accompany me to the cinema to watch it (I’ve been forced to watch too many Super Hero films – it’s payback time). However, now that I’ve read the book, I’m not entirely certain whether I want to see it at the cinema, even though the husband has promised me a very large tub of ice-cream…

My Dad gave me a kindle for my birthday a few years ago and I absolutely love that I can purchase a book online and, in less than half a minute, it will appear on my kindle. It is a little dangerous for a bookworm as I could spend a lot of time (and most of my salary that isn’t spent on fabric) on e-books but I do try to look at the deals and I can download a lot of the classics for free. I don’t think that e-books can ever truly replace ‘proper’ books (and I’d never buy a kindle version of a sewing book!) but I do like being able to read a variety of literature, or trying a new author, without adding to our already bulging bookshelves.

Anyway, enough rambling for today. Back to the bunting… 🙂

Till next time..

April

Singing, sewing and sunshine..

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Hoorah! The sun has appeared! It has been almost (almost!) spring-like in this small corner of the midlands. There is something about the sun that lifts your spirits and somehow makes everything just that little bit more manageable. Plans shelved over the winter have been revisited and a little bit of sorting has been going on in my newly decorated ‘sewing-room’ (or ‘second bedroom’ as the husband likes to call it).

Whilst clearing out my sewing boxes, I re-discovered a little embroidery that I bought at last year’s Festival of Quilts. I can’t quite remember which sewing shop it was purchased from but the kit itself was created by the French company Il etait une fois (Once upon a time). They produce lovely little illustrations on fabric. Perfect for little ones!

First half of embroidery

Second half of embroidery

Now that I’ve embroidered all the lettering and little pictures, this will be turned into a soft book that will be gifted to some friends who have a little boy. Here is the complete illustration:

Full embroidery 2

My cat Mirabelle was clearly unimpressed by my efforts:

Mirabelle and embroidery

After I’d taken this photo, she proceeded to scrunch it all up with her paws…

As well as completing the embroidery, I also completed this fetching quilted pan-stand using the paper-pieced Liberty hexies that I wrote about in my last post. The little pack of Liberty hexagons, courtesy of Duck Egg Threads, were in my goodie bag from the Stitch Gathering last year.

Photo for blog hexagon pan stand

I bound it using ready-made bias binding and I was quite proud of my mitred corners! It may be a little too pretty to be used every day. Perhaps only for special occasions. It could be used as a stand for my lovely Royal Albert Teapot…

Teapot

In addition to the sewing, I’ve also partaken of a little bit of singing over the past few months. Just after Christmas I joined a community choir and our first ‘gig’ will take place in a couple of weeks. If you’re feeling a bit low, there is nothing like a bit of singing to brighten your spirits and, as our rehearsals take place on a Sunday night, it is quite a good way to chase away the Sunday evening blues. As well as a number from Cats, we’re hoping to sing the opening song from Frozen, Frode Fjellheim’s Vuelie. It’s supposed to be unaccompanied but a bit more practice is still needed 🙂

Well, that’s all for this afternoon. I hope that, wherever you are, you have music and thread and that the sun is shining!

April x

The Winter blues…and some fabric therapy…

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It’s been so cold and damp lately that I have been feeling quite despondent. I briefly cheered up at the prospect of a bit of snow but by the time it reached the midlands it had turned into more rain. Even the cats don’t want to go outside!

But there is, of course, a silver lining. I can change into my pyjamas as soon as I get home from work, put on my snuggly slippers and encourage the husband to put on the log burner (yes, I am able to do this myself but he really loves building fires so what sort of wife would I be if I stopped him from doing what he loves?!)

Log burner

I have been taking a bit of time to go through my quilting books and back issues of Love Patchwork and Quilting. This is partly as I am searching for inspiration for a quilt top that I am currently constructing, partly to try to work out just how on earth you make those patchwork triangles and partly to plan what I’d like to make in the next few months.

I do have some quite lovely fabric in the stash at the moment:Cori Dantini fabric

This beautiful fabric pack was in my goody bag from the Stitch Gathering. It’s really quite delicious and is from a collection called The Makers by Cori Dantini.

Dashwood fabric

These fat quarters were my free gift when I took out a new subscription with LPAQ. The collection is Retro Orchard from Dashwood Studio. I absolutely love the bright prints, definitely good to gaze at when you’re feeling a little low! I can’t wait to use them to make something lovely.

I have been sewing a few EPP Liberty hexies whilst on the train:

Pink Liberty Hexies Grey Liberty Hexies

These were another item in my goody bag from the Stitch Gathering. Such beautiful prints! And they work so well in EPP hexagons 🙂 If only I had enough to make a whole quilt..

Following an email about a sale at the Cotton Patch, I went a bit ‘fabric-happy’ and bought a couple of charm packs of fabric from Amy Butler’s Glow collection. I spent a little bit of time contemplating what to do with them before eventually settling on half-square triangles. It took several attempts before I arrived at an arrangement that I was happy with:

Amy Butler triangles 2

Amy butler trianglesI think that I am going to put a border of dark blue fabric around this and possibly another row of triangles so it’s a bit of a work in progress but I’m pretty happy with it at the moment! I also purchased a Craftsy class (another email!) taught by Camille Roskelley in which I discovered that chain-piecing is a really quick way of joining your patchwork together and that you can easily match seams up using a technique called nesting. So I managed to piece together all of the rows in just one evening – a minor miracle..

To combat the ‘fabric-guilt’, I did clear out some of my stash and sent a bit off to our Regional coordinator of The Quilters’ Guild so that it could be sold at the annual AGM to raise funds. Some of you will know that the Guild recently had to close the wonderful Quilt Museum in York due to a lack of funding so if you are a keen quilter, do peruse their site and consider joining so that they can continue to promote the wonderful art of quilting across the UK..

Well, it’s another cold and grey afternoon so I’m off to light the log-burner, perhaps have some tea and biscuits and, erm, look at fabric websites…

April 🙂

 

 

A new year of stitchery and a few reflections…

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Well, here we are in 2016! The fairy lights have been packed away, the few baubles that we dared to display (given the cats’ destructive tendencies) have been wrapped up again and I’ve taken down my lovely Christmas wreathe. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Christmas brought a whole host of new sewing goodies and with the new year comes the firm resolution that this year will be the year of quilts…

Before I get into my plans, I thought that I’d just share some of the projects that I completed in the last few months of the year:

Log-cabin hexie cushion

This was the quilt-as-you-go log-cabin hexie cushion that was a gift for my brother’s girlfriend. As she is a musician and a fellow crafter, I thought that she would like the combination of musical notes and craft-related fabric! I found the pattern in a copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting (can’t quite remember which issue!) You’ll notice that this cushion has piping! Should you wish to read about the joys of trying to make piping (ahem!), then you can read about it in this post!

I also had a ‘commission’ from a particularly talented colleague at work who makes her own jewellery. This bunting adorned her stall at a Christmas Fair:

darshe bunting

Darshe jewellery

I was also quite excited to discover a new sewing shop in Leicester. Crafty Sew and So can be found in St Martin’s Square and is home to all sorts of fabric treasures. They also sell rather lovely little kits with ready-to-sew templates and are ideal for a fast sewing fix. I couldn’t resist this sweet little makeup bag:

Makeup bag - from Crafty Sew and Sew

At the end of November, I attended another workshop at Artworks in which the lovely Hillary taught us how to make a lined tote bag. By tote bag, I thought simple, lined shopping bag. How wrong I was! This was a ‘proper’ bag with zips!! I bought some bright fabric from the Clarke and Clarke range and I made this:

Bag - 1

Bag - 3

I managed to complete it in one day! I was pretty proud of myself!

So, some new sewing skills have clearly been acquired in 2015. But no quilts have been created. Since I intended to learn the art of quilting, I feel that this needs to be remedied in 2016. I wondered about setting myself a few goals re the number and type of quilts but then I thought that might be putting myself under a bit of pressure and this is meant to be my way of relaxing…

So instead, in the interest of acquiring skills, I will list just a few techniques that I would like to try in my quilting quest:

  • Creating blocks with triangles. I’ve read a lot of books but I don’t quite understand triangles. I must be missing something.
  • Make ‘orange-peel’ blocks.
  • Make more blocks using the free-form piecing method. It is extremely liberating. If all goes well, this might make a good quilt-top.
  • Develop my skills in applique.
  • Learn how to properly bind a quilt and make mitred corners.
  • Make blocks using the foundation paper-piecing technique.
  • Do more English paper piecing using different shapes.

That sounds achievable doesn’t it?!!! And there are a few special occasions taking place this year so, if all goes well, there may be a few special quilts!*.

Well, it’s getting late and it’s a ‘school night’ so I shall say Bonne Nuit for now.

Till next time!

April x

*If not, there’s always John Lewis…