Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Keeping Koozie

Possibly my favourite thing, next to sewing, is a lovely cup of coffee. Drinking coffee is genuinely what gets me through each day! Rushing around and playing with the kids often means there's a couple of cold cups of coffee left lying around. The Fat Quarter Shop have come up with a cute little Coffee Koozie pattern to help keep your hands cool while you're drinking and my bright version might help remind me it's there!

The pattern uses 2.5" squares and is a great way to use your Moda Candy.

It would make a sweet gift and they are so quick to do thanks to the clever pattern - you could easily personalise them too, which would be handy for work!

You can watch the Fat Quarter Shop YouTube tutorial video here and get the pattern here. I really recommend watching the YouTube channel, Kimberly is so sweet and always has great advice. There's lots of fun free patterns and tutorials, so much inspiration!

This was a check off my FAL list (#8 secret one Katy!).

Friday, 22 August 2014

weekend of wips

I have made some good progress with the projects I'm doing but still have a lot to get on with!

Another quilt top finish this week, one I will be teaching at work. It's a Japanese + x quilt made with gorgeous Arizona by April Rhodes. It's not often I make a quilt using all one fabric line but I really do love Arizona. The colours are so beautiful and I love the Southwestern American theme.

Apologies the picture was taken in weird light - I'm so busy this was the best I could manage! I will get better pictures once it's all quilted. I really like how the navy plays with the paler colours and the wonderful scrappy effect this quilt has. Oh the mint Triangle Tokens print, which has gold metallic triangles too, is just so gorgeous!

Arizona is available online here and here, or if you're in the Stockport area pop into Patchfinders.

Have a great weekend!

*just a note, I really do have my hands full at the moment - preparing for back to school, lots of sewing, general life - so although I'm grateful to the people that have already asked me to be part of the Around the World Blog Hop, can I please ask everyone else playing along not to consider 'tagging' me because I will have to say no. I enjoy reading people blogs about why they sew etc but I have a full plate so I've decided to be a spoilsport. Thank you. I'm getting back to my WIPs!

Linking up:

at Devoted Quilter this week
and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Monday, 18 August 2014

Jelly Roll Jam II quilt

The Fat Quarter Shop have a new free pattern, it's perfect for making baby quilts because you can make two from one jelly roll or even make a double sided quilt. They asked me which Jelly Roll I would like to use to make up a quilt and I chose the beautiful April Showers by Bonnie and Camille

This quilt will be given to my friend who is having a baby boy and it measures about 36 x 38". I chose to take out all the flowery prints and stick with the blenders, raindrops and umbrellas. It was a lot of fun playing with the strips and deciding which ones to use for the narrow blocks, I'm happy I went with the umbrellas and the dots.

I free motioned quilted this clamshell loop pattern using the tutorial by ElizabethMy fmq skills need work but it perfectly echoes the shapes of the raindrops and umbrellas and I adore the texture it gives the quilt. It puffed up beautifully after being washed and dried.

I used some of the jelly roll strips to make a scrappy binding and backed it with a turquoise brushed cotton fabric I had.

It will be super snuggly for the new baby and my youngest girl was testing it out before I even hand sewed the binding on!

You can get the free Jelly Roll Jam 2 pattern here. Also check out the Fat Quarter Shop's YouTube video, Kimberly has great tips for putting the quilt together!

There is currently a sale on all jelly rolls at the Fat Quarter Shop so grab yourself one and have fun making the Jelly Roll Jam 2.

Friday, 15 August 2014

My rose star quilt top

I finished my rose star quilt top...

It will need trimming along the sides and of course I will be hand quilting it. I have a quilting plan and Aurifil thread ready to go!

There's 5,467 pieces in this quilt top... ok kidding I haven't got time to count them!! But it's a lot. All the papers were cut out from printer paper, then hand basted and hand pieced with Aurifil 50wt 2600 and 2610.

All done by hand and all done by me, except for one beautiful block made by my wonderful friend Nicky - she made the one on the bottom right in the picture above and she also made me about 5 of the 'alien' connecting shapes because she's awesome :)

I haven't quite finished taking out all the papers but I'm just pulling those basting threads by hand and it comes out easily, most of the time I took them out as I made each block but some have remained from connecting them together.

There was very little thought put into this quilt. In the sense that I decided to use solid colours (orange, pink, mint, grey and beige) in the centres and I used a stack of fabrics I liked but I just put them together one by one in combinations that I liked. There is very little fussy cutting, I tried it and I love the effect but for the most part I just cut totally randomly. I didn't play around with the layout, I just started sewing them together. Then I realised you can put them in rows so that's what I did. Putting them together is much faster when you work in rows - one rose star, two alien shapes, one rose star, etc.

To finish it off I decided to have the rose stars almost floating by using kites and half hexagons to get to the point I could just use full hexagons. I was going to do more hexagon borders but honestly this quilt top is big enough as it is and I like how the rows of rose stars look like they're stacked on top of each other, kind of higgledy-piggledy.

It's random, eclectic and all mine!

The rose star tutorial is by the amazing Clare - my love of English Paper Piecing is all down to her and this brilliant pattern. This was the very first English Paper Piecing I attempted, I have finished other projects along the way but this quilt holds my first block. Is it weird that fact almost has me tearing up?! I adore this quilt top so much. I totally recommend going and visiting Clare's inspiring blog selfsewn, she also has an English Paper Piecing tutorial if you'd like to start doing some yourself.

You can see more fabulous rose star blocks and quilts in the Flickr group.

Linking up:

at Quilting Mod this week

and finish it up friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

pressure and some discounts!

I am holding my hands up and admitting that I may have taken on a little too much recently. I've had 3 commissions, two of which are done. I've had to make 3 class samples, again 2 are done. I also finished a magazine commission, have nearly finished a secret quilt that I will be sharing soon, I'm working on a couple of other secret projects for people and I'm totally behind on my two Block of the Month makes. Nicky will probably be seeing her bee block at the very end of the month because I'm under pressure to get things done ASAP - not that hers isn't important but I need to prioritise the paid stuff.

My Arizona Japanese + x quilt - I can't wait to quilt it!

*whinge, whinge* Ok I'm not complaining about being busy but I need to make a note not to take on so much when I have 3 kids at home over the holidays! I've had a lot of late nights (well I generally do anyway but now I'm panicking trying to decide what to sew first and I find deadlines exhausting!). Despite my little moan I am so pleased with what I have made and thank goodness I have sewing mojo - sometimes that leaves me when I have to get things done but right now I'm working that mojo hard!

Now here's some sponsor discounts and link to a vintage sheet giveaway...

At the Fat Quarter Shop you can get 20% off all Riley Blake Fabrics, use the code RILEY at checkout - valid until 14th August. I fancy this Shuffle Bundle and some wide yardage!

Pink Castle Fabrics are having a Giant bundle sale and you can get 30% off all precuts and bundles using code BUNDLE30 at checkout - valid until Sunday 17th August.

Also take a look at their Limited Edition Liberty Lawn Stash Box, I'm a huge fan of Liberty prints and this is a great way to get hold of 45 fat sixteenths, if they pre-sell 120 boxes then they will upgrade that to 50! You can read more about Liberty Tana Lawn on their blog. The stash boxes are the perfect way to add to or start your Liberty collection.


I'm also a fan of vintage sheets! Head over to le challenge to see Mary's vintage inspiration and find out how to win 10 vintage sheet FQs and get a 15% discount code to her shop!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 11 August 2014

and the winner is...

Congratulations you have won one of Melissa's new patterns and I've sent you an email.

If you didn't win but want to make your own Flowering Lone Star or Bursting Lone Stars then visit the Sew Bittersweet Designs Craftsy pattern store - and there's a discount if you want them both!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

What the blog?

I blog about my quilting, this is not a sewing related picture and yet I immediately knew that this picture best represents how I feel about blogging.

There's a sense of exploration; of myself, my creativity, growth, skills and possibilities.

I feel like blogging is a way of looking out into the world, framing myself in the process. Connecting with others, telling my story, sharing my sewing journey.

The light is so crucial to this picture and blogging for me has created so much light. I don't have to hark on to people who aren't interested in my sewing, I have a place to share with like minded people, I have encouragement, support and friends. I follow and read so many interesting blogs, I feel inspired every day seeing people's creations, discovering techniques and learning so much from everyone. It's led me to challenge myself, to do things I wouldn't have even considered on my own and to begin to develop my own sewing and writing style.

There's a dreamy, pensive quality to this picture too. I'm a full time mum and despite the fact I adore what I do there's a longing to fulfill another part of myself - for me quilting and blogging are something I do that's mine. I ponder, I prepare, I sew, I make, I write, I share. Those rays of light are those wonderful cables that link me to all of you!
(I knew this would end up being cheesy)

*This post was published on my friend Nat's original blog at the beginning of 2012, I came across it in my drafts and thought I would publish it here since there's been recent discussion about the end of blogs. Despite not having as much time now I have 3 kids and being sucked into Instagram, reading blogs and writing my own is still almost as important to me as actually sewing. Being part of this community truly brings me joy.

Nat suggested I could use a picture to share what blogging means to me and this one immediately came to mind. The photograph is one my husband took when my son was a toddler and I love it.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

I really do love fabric

especially when it's gorgeous fabric like the ones I am currently working with...

An English Paper Piecing project from Quilting on the Go:

A sample quilt for a class I'm teaching:

Fun small makes:

Cotton and Steel available here and here

Arizona by April Rhodes, Limited Edition available here and here - and hurry it's selling out fast!

Make sure you enter my giveaway - open until 11th August.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 4 August 2014

Flowering Lone Star and a GIVEAWAY


When Melissa from Sew Bittersweet Designs put a call out for pattern testers I couldn't resist because the Flowering Lone Star is such a beautiful design.

Those of you on Instagram will have seen my excitement a few days ago as I got a lot of perfect points - this was an easy accomplishment following Melissa's well written instructions. I have to be honest and say when I first looked at the pattern I thought 'oh no'! It looked like the cutting might be tricky and I was nervous about making a design that required so many points and some 'y' seams. I couldn't have been more wrong though, once I started cutting, and her cutting instructions are so easy to follow, I realised this is actually a quick top to put together. I gave myself a little challenge by using fat quarters rather than the recommended yardage because I fancied making a rainbow. This was easy too because the directions are so well laid out and I just cut the diamonds individually rather than from strips. I used eight fat quarters for the diamonds and coordinating solids for the edges. 

I got one noticeable pucker on the cheeky blue oakshott but I'm hoping I can quilt it out.

The fat quarter fabrics were all from my stash of Pink Castle Fabrics that I collected from the monthly Stash Stack Club. I love the rainbow of colours! I'm going to quilt this and give it to my friend who has recently had a baby boy.

Melissa is kindly offering a giveaway of one new pdf pattern and you get to chose between her new patterns Bursting Lone Stars (left) or Flowering Lone Star (right):


There are three chances to win one of these patterns, please leave separate comments for each:

1. Leave a comment below, say anything you like!

2. Follow my blog (GFC, Bloglovin, Feedly, email etc - the buttons to follow are over there on the right) and leave a separate comment telling me you do (optional entry).

3. Follow Sew Bittersweet Designs and leave another comment (optional entry).

**Warning: you will not win if you are a no reply blogger so please leave your email address in the comment. This actually happened in my last giveaway and I would hate for someone to miss out!

The giveaway will close on 11th August, the winner will be chosen by random.org and Melissa will email you the pattern of your choice.

Good luck!

See Melissa's post for more chances to win, the patterns are available in her Craftsy shop and there's a discount bundle if you'd like them both.

two for me - nail polish manicure bag

Recently the Fat Quarter Shop asked me to if I would like to make their latest free pattern from It's Sew Emma, the Nail Polish Quilt Pattern. I used to manage a make up counter (yes I also used to be a University lecturer but guess which job I enjoyed more?) and I still love playing with make up so I jumped at the chance.

I decided not to make a quilt because I literally had bottles of nail polish dotted all around my house and thought this would be the perfect pattern to create a bag to keep them all in. I swear I found bottles of polish hiding in every room, no wonder I can never find the colour I want!

To make the bag I had to adapt the pattern slightly, I basically just cut the measurements in half so it wasn't too tricky. The only adjustment was the outer borders but that was probably due to my seam allowance.

I chose my favourite colours and realised I have a lot of polish in pink and orange. I tend to use the gorgeous Rimmel Instyle Coral the most.

I can't be sure of the exact colours of Kona I used, I must get better at labelling my fabric, but I suspect they are School Bus, Orange and maybe Melon and Bright Pink. I seriously need to get some colour cards for solids! Inside the bag I used this Littlest print, which has fast become one of my favourite low volume fabrics.

You can find the free Nail Polish pattern here and also check out this great video so you can quilt along!

I subscribe to the Fat Quarter Shop YouTube channel and I recommend you do the same, it's packed with great tips, interviews and other fun stuff!

This is another check off my fal list (it's #7 the secret orangey one Katy!).

Friday, 1 August 2014

feeling meh despite the finishes

July felt a bit meh to me. Loved what I've made but feel like I could have made more progress, though I probably always feel that way. I think there's a severe lack of actual quilts, I love small makes but it's not as satisfying as a quilt finish.

I finished a buggy bag for us to carry nappies etc in, a buggy liner for a friend, a tea towel for new neighbours and scrappy cards for anyone I think deserves one.

My favourite finish has to be my foot stool, every time I use it I smile:

I did manage a couple of other finishes this past couple of days, both commissions.

The first was on my FAL list, two sweet dresses made from Tula Pink fabric - which is just perfect!

An embroidered cushion, which was ordered by a returning customer - that's such a great feeling.

Then I finally got my July Bee a Brit Stingy bee blocks sent off to Charlotte today, made using her brilliant tutorial:

I hope she loves them, if not she can send them back to me because I do!

Actually writing this post has made me feel a little less meh. I think having 3 kids at home all the time (especially on a rainy day like today) means that when it gets to the evening I just feel like lying in a darkened room, alone and in silence. I may well do that but there's sewing to do and I'm working on whipping up some samples for classes I will be teaching. This is a fabric pull for a cushion I'm planning:

I'm excited about it and fingers crossed it works as I hope!

I have finished my rose star quilt top but between the kids and the rain I've not been able to get a proper photo yet, hopefully I can share it with you soon.

Linking up:

Fresh Sewing Day

at Quokka Quilts this week
and finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts