Monday, 30 May 2016

cuteness and kindness

Some stashing, a helpful quilting tip and half term holiday fun!

I've already shared these purchases over on Instagram but in case you haven't seen them and so I can record the details, here's what I bought recently...

Two yards of this gorgeous Hexie Fabric by Heidi Kennedy from Spoonflower - designed to fit 1.25" hexies! I'm not sure I will do hexies but I couldn't resist the cute illustrations. 

If you haven't heard, Spoonflower now also ships from Germany and that makes the shipping costs for all of us in Europe much cheaper! Shipping starts from $1 for a fat quarter but make sure you select to have it shipped from Germany.

The prices are still higher than regular quilting cotton but I think it's so great to support independent artists and a nice way to find fabric with unique and different designs.

I also got these gorgeous handmade screen printed panels from Skinny Malinky Quilts. This is part of her new collection Actinomycetes, which will be released 2nd June. Check out her Etsy shop!

Next up, not fabric but geeky pins! I LOVE Buffy and Kevin Smith films so I had to represent with these fun pins from Jenni's Prints - another Etsy shop, filled with brilliant patches and pins for cult film and tv fans!

It's not been all shopping, I have done some sewing too! I thought I would share a little tip, when using your walking foot it helps to have the edge of the foot hang over the seam line. That way the foot helps guide you more and you have a neat straight quilting line. Helen also pointed out to me that you can move your needle across, which is perfect if you are top stitching!

Yesterday my family had an adventure at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, we went to see the Kaws exhibition which was brilliant and I was really taken with the work of Not Vital

Although the kids liked the art, they mostly loved the outdoors! 

We are enjoying the half term holidays but Fred was devastated when someone flooded his house on Minecraft today. His sisters were adorable and jumped straight to comfort him. I hope the love continues this week! 

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Foxtail Forest Bundle ~ Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway!

**the giveaway is now closed**

Fat Quarter Shop are kindly sponsoring a giveaway of a Foxtail Forest Fat Quarter Bundle

You’re invited to discover a whimsical retreat of celebrating creatures and lush forest finds. 

Foxtail Forest is a beautiful collection designed by Rae Ritchie featuring furry friends, ferns, fungi and treehouses. There are also pretty blender prints, I have already bought this one to add to my stash!


You have two possible chances to win a Foxtail Forest Fat Quarter Bundle:

1. Leave a comment, tell me which forest animal do you think is fantastic?

2. Share the giveaway on social media and let me know where you shared in another comment! (optional entry).

⟡ Open internationally, a winner will be chosen on Thursday 2nd June 2016. 
⟡ Please make sure you leave your email in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win.

Good Luck!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Star Crossed Moons Quilt

Nothing beats a new, freshly washed and dried, crinkly and squishy quilt!

This quilt has a magical quality about it, to me it is like looking out at the universe. 

The pattern is Star Crossed by It's Sew Emma, Fat Quarter Shop. The pattern has four quilt sizes but I chose to create a square quilt, it measures approx. 46" x 46". It's a beautiful pattern and clever in it's simplicity, there is a lot of scope for using prints to create different effects. When I finished the quilt it felt like there was just a bit too much black so I added in some appliqué moons made with Cotton + Steel metallic canvas. 

The centre fabric is Shibuya in Linen, Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts; the parallelograms are Lined Grids in White, Doe by Carolyn Friedlander and the background is Petite Plus, Black & White by Cotton + Steel.

I did a bit of machine quilting in black and added some hand quilting in white perle thread, which I also used to stitch the moons.

The backing is 108" wide Polka Dots by Riley Blake. You can just see a little of my quilting:

I did mess up on my piecing, you can see it below or in the picture of the whole quilt, on the top right. 
It doesn't bother me, I actually quite like it and chose to leave it in.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams

This was one of the quilts on my quarter 2 fal list, so that's another tick! ✓

linking up:

at Crazydutchbirdquilts this week
and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Child Smile

I finished up another Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch, the last one for a while as this is the fourth I've made recently. This one was Size 3, possibly my favourite as it would fit nicely in a large handbag and is useful for carrying make up or bits and bobs.

I made it using a mini origami pack of Retro 30's Child Smile by Lecien from Sunny Day Supply and I have 3 little squares left over! Don't you love that adorable heart Kam snap?!
This is finish #5 from my FAL list ✓ 

I had thought about gifting it but my youngest saw it first! She's delighted with it and keeps asking me for money to put in it - I suspect that will carry on for quite some time ;)

She's been carrying it everywhere! Totally adorable. As is the picture she drew of me today:

That made me smile big time.

Monday, 23 May 2016

scrabble tile bag

Today I sewed up this quick little zip bag, a request from my mum who needed a new bag to hold her scrabble tiles. She takes her scrabble board on holiday and plays a lot, so she requested a bag with a zip to keep the tiles safe and protected.

(She doesn't play junior scrabble but those were the nearest tiles I had to hand in our house!)

I used Maze in Grass, Glow by Amy Butler for the outside and a pretty grey leaf print for the inside.

I didn't do zip ends so it has some funky diagonal corners going on at the top but I'm ok with that and it kind of works with the pattern of the fabric.

I also made a start on another Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch, they are so fun to make and I'm doing all the different sizes.
This time I'm making it all out of patchwork, using a mini origami pack of Retro 30's Child Smile by Lecien that I got from Sunny Day Supply. The cuteness of these prints combined with the heart Kam snap is bringing me joy!

Last night I was productive too, finally piecing the backing for my rose star quilt. I'm using Oakshott cotton. This colour is Coral from the Jewel Collection, which I purchased with the intention of using it as backing for this quilt way back in 2012. Maybe I will actually baste it soon?! That bit is my least favourite now and probably partially why I have so many quilt tops sitting waiting.

Let's hope my productivity and enthusiasm continue all week!

Friday, 20 May 2016

think on lovely things ~ Lady

It has been a busy week and I've been doing lots of teaching. Really nice groups of women that all produced lovely work and have given me so much inspiration for new projects and classes. So a small finish for today...

I finished another Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along block, a simple one compared to my last challenging block!

#50 Lady
We all have those times like the author of this letter, "My thoughts were dragging me down; in my mind huge storms were brewing". I chose the dark navy as a symbol of feeling "blue". Sometimes the solution isn't as simple as thinking nice thoughts but it can help and I completely agree that "our thoughts are far-reaching in their effort on our inner selves, on our response to life". The floral Liberty print reminds me to think about "sweet things".

Have a sweet weekend!

linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Thursday, 19 May 2016

deceptive ~ Anne ~ Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt Sew-Along

Today is my turn again as a guest blogger for the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt Sew-along with Fat Quarter Shop and Gnome Angel. I have made #5 Anne and it was a bit of an adventure!

It started badly. When I looked at the block picture next to the letter I thought there were only two fabrics. I spent some time choosing two fabrics, then happened to look at the block assembly and realised there were three! I chose my fabrics based on the theme of the letter so I had a rethink and finally felt happy with my picks:

top to bottom: Delicate Femme in Apricot, Rapture by Pat Bravo; Carpal Stone Grid in Gold, Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander and Row by Row Lit, Cultivate by Bonnie Christine.

And then it just went downhill! 
I decided to hand piece this block, the last few were English Paper Pieced but I needed a change. Perhaps because I had been used to just cutting up the pieces, or maybe because I wasn't concentrating, I messed up. I failed to realise that the triangles in the centre are not all the same size or that this is a mirror image block. And it wasn't until I started sewing that it all clicked.

I salvaged what I could and then re-cut the pieces. Very often a block spinning the wrong way wouldn't bother me at all but I do like getting it 'right' when I can. Also by this point I was questioning everything and relying heavily on the block assembly to keep me in check!

The easiest way for me to make sure the pieces are correct in a mirror image block when hand piecing, is to print the block diagram and trace the lines on the reverse. I use a lightpad, put the diagram face down and then the fabric right side down on top - turn the light on and trace. 

So finally I had the pieces cut out properly! The block can be split into quarters, as each quarter is the same. I laid out a quarter to ensure it was right then split the block into eighths and used clips to hold the pieces for each small section together.

I must have looked at the block assembly a million times while I was sewing and it really isn't that complicated!! I think I just started doubting myself because I screwed up the cutting. My brain probably needed the challenge ;)

Usually I do know what I'm doing and you can find my hand piecing tutorial here.

Even with all the mistakes I made I did enjoy sewing this block together!

#5 Anne
This was a beautiful letter, I like how often the letters tell of simplicity and finding joy in what we have. I also found the book The Culture of Simplicity by Malcolm McLeod, that is quoted in the letter - you can read it online here (there are sections missing but it is free). You need to click the Next>> tab on the top right to flip through the pages.
I used the grid print to represent the "rolling brown fields" and the floral print as a symbol to "Live simply then. Enjoy the present moment". The stripe worked beautifully as "the beams that bring summer into the soul and make us lighthearted, free and glad".

I'm already working on my next block and getting back into the swing of it! Are you sewing along? How many blocks have you completed so far and which block is your favourite?

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

charming stash and my favourite photo

Sometimes there are whole fabric collections that I would like to have and the best way of getting a little of everything is pre-cuts. This week a lovely parcel arrived from Green Fairy Quilts containing just that!

I ordered two charm packs of Just a Speck by Jen Kingwell because I love all those beautiful colours. Two charm packs of Behind the Scenes by Jen Kingwell because I can't have enough low volumes or grey/black prints. And one charm pack of Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique because it's so pretty!

I have no specific plan for any of these but I know I will use them all.

Yesterday my husband took the kids to the seaside, which meant a break for me, and despite it looking glorious it was actually freezing cold. He took some beautiful pictures...

Lois is now three and I can't believe how fast she's growing!

Joan is always fun:

but I adore this serene picture because she looks so meditative. It's definitely one of my favourite photos.

I'm working on a quilt tonight and enjoying a peaceful Sunday. I hope you are too!

Molli Sparkles

Friday, 13 May 2016

bags of use

This week was all about little makes. Those fun quick finishes! 

First I use up some patchwork from another project to make a Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch, teamed with Wild Goose with black spots, Just A Speck by Jen Kingwell.

I used a couple of my new Kam snaps and I love how cute they look! Very easy to install with the huge pliers they came with.

I top stitched the bag and quilted the outer panel with 50 weight Aurifil #2566, a lovely soft purple.

This is finish #3 from my fal list ✓

Next up I asked my Instagram friends to recommend a way to use lace zips, I had a couple of zips stashed away and wanted to use them. This is the Exposed Lace Zipper Pouch tutorial by Fort Worth Fabric Studio, recommended by Veronique.

It was super quick to make and really simple!

The outer fabric is Cottagely Posy, Priory Square by Katy Jones and the lining is Geometric Calico, Franklin by Denyse Schmidt.

The only thing I didn't like in the tutorial was the inner seams, my machine's zig zag isn't that great so I decided to make French seams instead. I simply stitched the sides of the bag on the outside, turned it inside out and stitched the sides with a bigger seam. It worked really well, you still see the ends of the zip on the inside but I think it's neat.

Finally this week I made a little something for myself! Very little...

I used the smallest size of the Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch pattern to make a business card holder and it's so cute!

(sorry I took the pictures so fast, before that air erasable pen dot went away!)

I used some precious Karen Lewis Textiles scraps in my favourite prints and colours. I asked on my Instagram what colour snap to use: yellow, light pink or hot pink. The resounding choice was hot pink and that works nicely since this is the back:

So that's another check off my fal list ✓ 
I'm doing pretty well checking off all the little things! One more clutch bag to make and maybe then I can move on to some quilts?!

Happy Friday 13th and I wish you all a wonderful weekend :)

Linking up:

at the lovely Quokka Quilts this week
and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts