Thursday, 27 October 2016

non stop

Is it just me? It seems like time is speeding up and the days are flying by. I have a to do list that goes on forever but struggle to even check off one thing a day. The fact that this week is half term isn't helping! There's little chance of getting much proper work done but I am really enjoying having the kids around (mostly, sometimes I am pulling my hair out!). 
I had fun making this time lapse video of my hand quilting, it's weirdly apt considering how fast my days are going!

Today was good. We decorated the house for Halloween, after carving pumpkins with our friends yesterday, and now it looks nicely seasonal. The afternoon was spent crafting, with each of us working on different projects.

I was prepping for the machine quilting class I am teaching with Alison at Patchfinders next week. One of the things I did was this thread / stitch length sampler:

Fred worked on his hand pieced patchwork, he's doing really well and his stitches are getting straighter. Joan decided she wanted to sew scraps of wadding together, she likes the cosiness!

Lois was colouring but then thought playing with spiders was more entertaining!

I had a big shock this morning when I found myself on the nominees list for Quilting Designer of the Year category in the British Craft Awards! I went to vote for Simply Solids as Quilting Retailer of the Year, after seeing them post about their nomination. It was a bit of a shock to see my name amongst really talented designers and I am honoured to have been included. You can go and vote for all your favourites now, click here!

Friday, 21 October 2016

childish and thankful ~ Marcella and Primrose

A couple more Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along blocks that I have finished. I still have quite a few to catch up on... slowly but surely making my way through them!

#56 Marcella
This was such a lovely little story. As a mum to three I completely identify with having to get lots of stuff done but those play times, like "make-believe tea" allow us not only to connect with our children but also to relax and be in the moment. I chose fabrics to remind me of their little tea party and kept it mostly light and bright.
"It is a great privilege of us mothers to relive our childish days with our children and to keep in step with their youth as time goes on. It helps to keep our spirits from growing old and shriveled".
I did English Paper Piecing to construct this block.

#85 Primrose
This letter really made me smile, the thankful way she appreciates what little she has. It struck me that as a "little Flemish girl during the World War" she went through so much and really longed to live in America after receiving "cups of cocoa and buns". I decided this was the opportunity I needed to use this Fruit Gum, Fruit Dots by Melody Miller because to me it is perfectly American and also serves as a reminder to be grateful for all the things we have, no matter how small!
This block was hand pieced, to see my tutorial click here.

If you are crafting tomorrow, come and join the #saturdaynightcraftalong on instagram. It's a really fun way to share your work and see what other people are creating! I will be hosting from 6pm BST. It begins in Australia with Rachel @barefootcrafter and then following on from me is Meg @myteandbrie in the US. We craft along every week!

Have a great weekend everyone! 

linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Thursday, 20 October 2016

pieceful ~ Golda ~ Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt Sew-Along

Today is my turn 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 #38 Golda and I really love this block design!

I enjoy the simplicity of choosing just a few fabrics for each block. I pick my fabrics based on the theme of the letter so that always influences my choices and allows for some interesting combinations:

Two Liberty prints and Fan Dots in Brown, Mostly Manor by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

For this block I decided to do English Paper Piecing and the piecing was fairly simple, following the block assembly instructions in the book.

The only tricky part is the points of the triangles, particularly on those longer, thin ones. I found it easier to fold over the top seams of the triangle first and then the bottom part - it really helped to prevent loosing those corner points:

There were quite a few little triangle pieces in this block but it does come together easily and I think it is a striking design.

#38 Golda
This letter follows the same theme as a few others in the book and focuses on the joys of farm living. I often decide to use brown in the blocks where farming is a focus. This particular print is gorgeous and I love how it has little bits of other colours in too. I used the pink Liberty pink to represent the fact that they "make a garden" and the green Liberty because "the grass never before was so green".

The pops of pink in each print really make me very happy! The back side is a little messy with all those dog ears but since it's a small block I'm just pressing them any which way and I'm not worried about it!

Have you made this block? 

If you want to join in the sew along, click the links below to purchase the book and join in the sew along - it's never too late!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

tv debut

Not actually the first time I have been on telly, I was once interviewed at an airport for morning television but this was my first planned appearance! Last night I was on tv doing a sewing demonstration.

I was asked to be part of the Simply Sewing craft half hour that is currently running on the Jewellery Maker channel, before a new craft channel is launched next year. Since the Christmas season is approaching I designed some templates, used to embroider on cards. I stuck with simple designs that could be easily stitched and embellished.

It was really nerve wracking, totally out of my comfort zone but the team were amazing and Derek, the presenter, really put me at ease. The half hour flew by and it was so much fun! I was so worried that my hands would be shaking but I just focused on what I was doing and thankfully the nerves just evaporated.

Derek is a true professional and really nice guy, it was lovely to work with him. We had a laugh because he had brought a Christmas jumper with him to the show and, although he didn't wear it on air, he let me take a photo with him wearing it. He came out with a classic, calling it an 'elfie'!!

There were lovely messages from family and friends after the show and I really appreciate all the kind comments on instagram.

It took me a long time to get to sleep last night, I really had a buzz after doing the show. Despite all the anticipation, being brave and doing something so unfamiliar for me was a great adventure. I hope there's many more similar adventures to come!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

I am cracking on ~ FAL Q4 2016

I have a lot going on and so don't want to put too much pressure on myself but at the same time I need a clear out. There are so many works in progress around here it is getting silly. That being said, this quarter I am planning on dealing with the ones that are nearly finished, have a deadline or really want to do. I am going to push myself but enjoy getting this lot done!

Here's my list of projects I want to complete for the Finish-A-Long...

1. My Rose Star Quilt - just a bit more hand quilting and then binding to do:

2. Guitar Baby Quilt - top done so needs quilting and binding:

3. Octopus Pouch - I got this awesome fabric from Skinny Malinky Quilts and I want to make the Triangle Patchwork Box Pouch from Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi:

4.  Hexie tiles - as much as I think these would make an amazing quilt I am planning on making a cushion:

5. A Place For Everything bag - I have the pattern from By Annie and am all set to go:

6. Christmas Banner - I want to make a nice welcoming Christmas banner to hang in the hall. Also I have some of this fabric that I really want to use:

7. Apron - I have a custom order for a denim gardening apron using unwanted jeans, should be a fun make:

8. Liberty flower mini hoops - I've made one already but I have two more epp flowers so I want to make a couple more of these:

9. Butterfly Quilt - I don't think this will get done but it deserves a place, mostly because Joan asks me to finish it at least once a week and also because it is a stunning quilt top with blocks from my lovely bee mates:

I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, and it's not even close to all the WIPs I have, but this list should give me some focus and I hope to have them all checked off by next year!

If you linked up, how many projects do you have to finish this quarter?

2016 FAL

Friday, 7 October 2016

Pickle Dish mini quilt

I am smitten with this mini quilt! It is a class sample for my Pickle Dish blocks class on 5th November 2016 at Patchfinders (as of writing I believe this class is full but you can always call to check or add your name to the waiting list, I will try to run it again next year if there is interest!).

The blocks are entirely machine pieced and I chose to hand quilt the mini. I used foundation paper piecing to construct the arcs and I have tips and tricks for piecing those curved pieces.

I enjoyed playing with the colours and using up fabric scraps from my stash. There are so many possibilities for colour variations!

There is one little fussy cut in my mini but I also think it would look great with more.

The mini was pieced with Aurifil 50wt and then hand quilting using perle thread. I love how the white blends in nicely but creates bold texture.

I finished putting the binding on this afternoon and I even like it from the back!

It will be displayed in the classroom and after teaching I definitely want to find a place to hang this in my home! The finished mini quilt is 16" square.

This is the final make from my Q3 FAL list ☑  (it was originally going to be a cushion but I hope it still counts that I made it a mini!)

Happy Friday everyone!

linking up:

at Georgia Girl Quilts this week
and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

little stars

There are big changes going on for me. Making adjustments, working hard and figuring out what comes next. You know... life stuff!

So today I took it easy. I did some yoga, had coffee with a friend and actually did some machine sewing. 

I made the first two blocks of the Land of Magic Quilt. It is a gorgeous foundation paper piecing pattern (click the link to see Kerry's finished quilt), you can buy the full pattern or individual blocks if you prefer - the crown and star come as a pair. 

My sister is pregnant and this quilt will be for my new niece or nephew. We chose the fabrics together and it was a lot of fun! I actually changed my mind about the main print for the crown and I think this blue print works really well, almost like it is shining. The star uses mainly Carrie Bloomston prints and I love how the navy print looks like twinkling stars.

My youngest star has started school and is really enjoying herself! Our last few afternoons (before she went full time) were spent doing all the wonderful things we enjoy doing together. Painting - usually I do the outline and she fills it in:

And baking, flapjacks are a favourite:

I am still getting used to not having her with me all day. I'm not sure how I feel really. Currently I am too busy to actually think about it, which is good on the one hand but I'm starting to need time to 'process' because it is a big change. There is some sadness for me but I am thankful that she likes school and is making friends. I guess I just keep on keeping on :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Aurifil winner

I was really touched by all the lovely comments and messages I received about the blog being 5! It means so much (and still surprises me) that people enjoy reading and following my adventures in sewing and quilting. Community is a huge part of why I still write this blog and your support and kindness is massively appreciated. Thank you, thank you! 

The winner of the Aurifil 'Big City' thread box is:

Congratulations Laura! I have sent you a message :)

There is another giveaway coming soon... follow me on instagram so you don't miss it!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

secret sisters & stashing

One of the really fun things about Patchwork in the Peaks is 'secret sisters' - we were each allocated someone that we gave little gifts to during the retreat. Small makes or treats that we had to try and leave  for them without being discovered! Then on the Saturday night we guessed who our secret sister was and revealed our final gifts.

I made a pincushion and Single Scoop Zipper Pouch for my secret sister. I love the curves and handy strap on this pouch!

I used this Allie & ME tutorial to make the pinwheel pincushion - I translated the page using Google translate but you can pretty much get the idea from the pictures in the tutorial.

It was really fun and quick to make and I love the folded fabric, it makes it so tactile. I added a little bead in the centre and it turned out so pretty!

I filled the pouch with some large fabric scraps. I didn't intentionally match the colours of the projects either but they do make a nice pair!

Next I decided to make some gifts for our hostess Elita. She does a fabulous job of organising and running the Patchwork in the Peaks retreat and I wanted to give her a thank you gift. I made a simple drawstring pouch using Jeni's tutorial and a fun sewing print from Patchfinders.

It needed something inside of course so I gave her some lovely handmade soap and this little embroidery hoop, I got to finally make use of the tiny Liberty epp flowers I made some time ago.

I bought some 2" embroidery hoops from Sew Cross Handmade on Etsy. I used Aurifil 80wt to appliqué the flower onto some Kona cotton. I definitely will be making more!

My secret sister totally nailed the things I love and gave me all these lovely gifts, there was also some chocolate but that was immediately eaten by me and my family when I got home!

I couldn't believe how well she knew me when I had never met her before but then she reminded me that I write this blog!! I am grateful she took the time to read to discover what I like and I might have shrieked when I opened my Superman key ring 💘💘💘 
Thank you secret sister!

We also played a fun dice game to swap fabric, we each brought three FQs with us and then there was some crazy dice rolling and passing around until it was our turn to chose a fat quarter. It was hilarious and I'm so pleased with the lovelies I picked out.

A pretty daisy on navy dot print, Rising Sun Wall in Sorbet, New Bedford by Denyse Schmidt and Bloomsbury in Parchment, Charleston Farmhouse by Felicity Miller - big thanks to Jamie for identifying the last one when I asked on instagram❤️

Busy Needle Quilting also had a shop at the retreat, which was full of gorgeous fabric and beautiful Aurifil. I was restrained but couldn't resist some of the stunning Aurifil Brillo!

I got Silver Black #808 and Silver #800. I can't wait to sew with these! I also picked up this brilliant Erasable Fabric Marker by Marvy - I hadn't ever seen this before but it is both air and water erasable. So it will disappear in several days or you can erase it immediately with water. Very clever.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! My mum is babysitting tonight so me and my husband have decided to go for a walk. I'm looking forward to walking and talking while holding hands. It's the simple things in life xx

Molli Sparkles