Thursday, 18 September 2014

I Love Quilting and Sewing Blog Tour + a GIVEAWAY!

The Fat Quarter Shop are celebrating National Sewing & Quilting month with a fun blog tour and I was happy to take up the challenge and answer a few questions!

I decided to make myself a laptop bag from the fantastic book Quilting on the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis. I challenged myself by changing the English Paper Pieced shapes to 60° diamonds and squares, which Jessica used so beautifully in her Tanuki stripe throw, and adding magnetic closures. I have never used magnetic snaps before, it was super easy thanks to this noodlehead tutorial, but I did have to wrangle with turning the lining through to install them rather than adding buttons at the end as per the pattern!

The book shows you how to easily make a laptop case based on the measurements of your laptop and mine fits perfectly.

I used Cotton and Steel scraps to make the case and hand quilted it using #8 perle thread in simple straight lines.

I also decided to add some detail to the flap by stitching some pluses, inspired by Rachael from Blue Mountain Daisy and her beautiful stitches.

I spend most evenings (and nap times) quilting and I always feel happy and satisfied when I've been able to have time to sew. The Fat Quarter Shop created this banner for me, it's my nod to the famous Goonies* 'it's our time' speech - quilting is my time; to relax, create and do what I love and get excited about the possibilities.

How did you start quilting/sewing?

I started quilting just before I started this blog, encouraged by my cousin and my Aunty. I remember doing some blackwork embroidery when I was young and using a sewing machine at school. I love trying new techniques and currently hand quilting, hand piecing, EPP and cross stitch are my favourite. I like the slower pace and have a couple of hand sewing projects lined up to take me through the winter!

When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter/sewer?

I think after I had made a few quilts and wasn't about to stop!

Do you have any sewing/quilting horror stories or faux pas?

I am constantly making mistakes but none of them too horrific and honestly I don't care if I mess up, it helps me learn. I do know I have to stop when I'm tired, too often I sew things back to front, upside down or just wrong!

What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in sewing/quilting?

I think it helps to have someone teach you in person, a friend or a class. There's so many amazing bloggers that post tutorials and tips that you can learn from. It's important to sew things you love, using fabric and combinations that make you happy, and don't worry about getting it 'right', play and enjoy!

The Fat Quarter Shop have released a super cute 'Color My Heart' quilt pattern that you can download for free here.

Hop around and see more of the 'I Love Quilting and Sewing Blog Tour':

Sherri of A Quilting Life

Charise of Charise Creates

Lucy of Charm About You - you are here!

Rachel of Family Ever After

Anne Marie of Generation X Quilters

Marni of Haberdashery Fun

Melissa of Happy Quilting

Elizabeth of In the Boon Docks

Jana of Jana Machado

Lynne of Lily's Quilts

Maureen of Made by Marzipan

Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs

Melanie of I Heart Stitching

Kaye of Miss Print

Natalia of Piece N' Quilt

Denise of Pieced Brain

Stephanie of Quarter Incher

Jane of Quilt Jane

Heather and Megan of Quilt Story

Cheryl of Quilter Chic

Michele of Quilting Gallery

Allison of Quilting Mumma

Leslie of Seasoned Homemaker

Liz of Sew4Home

Sara of Sew Sweetness

Leanne of She Can Quilt

Vickie of Spun Sugar Quilts

Tonya of The Crafty Mummy

Erin of Why Not Sew?

Here in the UK it is National Cupcake Week and although I've not done any baking I do have a sweet treat for you!

The Fat Quarter Shop is kindly giving away this Splash Cotton + Steel Basics Fat Quarter Bundle to one of you! I chose this bundle because obviously I've been working with the lovely Cotton and Steel fabrics and love them. The basics are totally beautiful, that metallic print on the top is one of my favourites, and this bundle has gorgeous colours from the minty greens through to navy blue.

There are 3 chances to enter the giveaway but I MUST have a way of contacting you, so please leave your email address if you've not commented here and had an email in reply before (I will stop the no reply drama!!)

1. Leave a comment, say anything or tell me how you would like to challenge yourself in your crafting.

2. Follow my blog and leave a separate comment - the subscribe / follow buttons are on the right somewhere up there! (optional entry)

3. Share this giveaway on social media and leave another comment telling me how you shared. (optional entry)

The giveaway is open until Monday 22nd September at around 8pm (BST). The winner will be chosen by and announced here on the blog.

Good Luck!

* I am overly excited at the prospect of the Goonies sequel. Never say die.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

little bits

Tonight I'm working on hand quilting my Arizona quilt:

I found the most brilliant tutorial for making your own quilting templates by Steffi this week (click that link!). It's really quite simple and I love that you can make your own designs and have long lasting templates. Very clever Steffi :) I will definitely be making some soon so I can get to work on Joan's butterfly quilt.

I'm also making do and mending by patching my son's favourite jeans ready for 'Jeans for Genes' day on Friday. I think this Rocket Age fabric will be perfect!

We have announced a new theme at le challenge, this month the theme is MIX. I hope you will all come and join in!

Le Challenge

Pop back tomorrow because I have a pretty finish and a splashing giveaway!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 14 September 2014

a start not a finish - le challenge

This is the fifteenth challenge link at le challenge, which means I've successfully finished fourteen makes since we started, but this time... well you've probably already guessed... I have no completed project to share.

I was exciting by the theme 'era' and had lots of ideas but it's been such a busy summer (blah, blah, excuses, excuses!), I had grand plans but as time ran on I realised they were not feasible and I just couldn't find the love for hurriedly cobbling something together.

So instead I made a start and finished the first block of the Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern by Jen Kingwell

The fabrics I'm using are mostly 1930s reproduction, though I think this block looks a bit 1950s too. The fabric on the bottom left corner was given to me by my wonderful cousin in America, I absolutely adore the print and have been saving it for a special project. I think this hand sewn pattern is the perfect way to use up my most loved vintage scraps.

So there you have it, the first fail for me. Ok not a fail but this wouldn't count if I was actually linking up to le challenge. Since Nat will be having her baby towards the end of this year, we've agreed we are both allowed a couple of passes and this is mine.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's actual finishes and if you've made anything over the past two months that fits the theme 'era' in any way then feel free to come and link up your finished project. A random winner gets a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop as well as a special giveaway this month of 10 FQs of vintage sheets from Mary Emmens.

Hop over and check it out!

Le Challenge

Friday, 12 September 2014

fast approaching

We had an extended challenge over the past two months and now the time to link up your finished 'Era' projects is nearly here! The Le Challenge link party opens on the 15th and you can link up for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop as well as a beautiful vintage sheet bundle of 10 Fat Quarters from Mary Emmens. Check out the blog for more details. It is NOT a competition, the winner is random and it's just a fun way of showing your finished makes that tie in with the theme - the best thing for me is seeing how creative everyone is and the cool ways people interpret the themes!

Here's a sneak peek of my project:

Your don't need a blog, you can link up a picture of your finished project from Flickr or Instagram. Please be sure to link back to the le challenge blog or use #lechallenge. 

If you haven't linked up with le challenge before maybe you could sew a little something this weekend and join in the fun!

How would you interpret the theme 'Era'?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

I love a good headband

You know the kind that stays on, doesn't give you a headache after an hour and obviously looks cute too!

Well I whipped some up and you can see my tutorial tips on the Simply Solids Blog. There is also a code for 15% off the fabrics I used, so check it out (there may also be a picture of a freaky glass head, you've been warned)!

I picked fabrics that I think are really wearable and each headband only uses 1 fat quarter. They have a cute retro look and are really comfy. I am loving wearing them and as the weather turns cooler they'll be nice to keep the tops of my ears cosy too, bonus.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

in a pastel mood

Maybe it's the summer ending or the fact that it was actually warm and sunny today but I've developed a sudden crush on all things pastel. Evident in the fact that I'm going to be quilting a small English Paper Pieced project and, rather than pick the dark navy or black I was originally intending, I've pulled some pretty pastel shades of perle:

There's lots of lovely bright colours in the Cotton and Steel lines (available here and here) but there's also some soft and beautiful pastels so I'm hoping these are going to play nicely together.

Pastels often feature in 30's repro fabrics, which I'm a huge fan of, and I am joining in the fabric swap hosted by Missouri Mel. You can see all the details and join in the swap here (if there's still any places left!).

I've noticed my follower numbers have been creeping up so I think a thank you giveaway (international) will be in order when it's a nice round number and I've got a really great giveaway coming up (just for UK and Ireland) peeps very soon too!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced