Mind elsewhere

I’ve not been able to sew in the mornings as usual lately for reasons explained in the above photo (he loves sitting on the sewing machine pedal too), plus I’ve been having to tire this little one out so that he sleeps- Alex is on night shifts so he’s the one that needs to sleep in the morning (he’s not getting any though).

This currently is my bed so as not to annoy the neighbours at night and see that Hank gets outside quickly when nature calls- and he calls me. It’s really quite comfortable though and I’m getting over 5 hours even though I’m getting up with the shipping forecast, the annoying bit is when Gwen gets up to reconfigure her bed at 3am and I’ve just nodded back off after letting his lordship outside.

I should have my appliqué ready for stitching soon, because it’s something I can pick up and put down without needing the machine. It’s too big to do in one piece and I’m waiting on some more Sewline glue and Black Kona from Simply Solids. Picture coming soon!

I’m at work and Alex has had four hours sleep, during which time Hank has had a terrible morning, he had an accident and then rubbed it on all his bedding, favourite toys and himself in distress that he wasn’t heard barking (hence me being on the sofa). I also forgot to open the windows in the conservatory and we’ve had nice weather for once so the poor chap was distraught. Alex now has a job interview in Birmingham and he would need leaving for another four, maybe five, hours depending on how well he does and if he finds the place alright, which even by wearing him out playing beforehand is going to have the same horrible outcome and a sad little puppy.

So THANK YOU to my friend Gina for stepping in at very last minute to have him at her house when I called at lunch time. With no car, she’s unwittingly found herself with a creature that is closer to a wiggly Tasmanian Devil than puppy (he is very toothy right now- and fast) in her own home. I’ve been sent this picture following her Labrador Frank around, he seems to be happy already- after just half an hour!

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P.S. SORRY and THANK YOU again, and please be honest if he’s been a nightmare or eaten/torn/punctured/generally ruined anything, fingers crossed he’s a good boy!

P.P.S. Anyone more familiar with Blogger than I able to tell me why I’m not getting the comments on the Hank blog to my email? I don’t have a gmail account, I deleted it so my usual penny-dog one is the primary address, and yet, nothing! Thanks!

Instahank and Gwenstagram

Oh my gosh puppies are so cute but they are trying!

 

 

And a picture of Gwen so she isn’t left out :) By the way she could not care less about our new resident, which is great. When we’ve rehomed rescue dogs in the past with existing dogs, we have always been told that indifference is the absolute best scenario when they meet for the first time.

So a reminder – our blog to watch Hank grow is HERE (still needs prettying up and I’ve just fixed it so I get blog comment notifications as I wasn’t getting them- sorry for not replying, also taken off word verification).

And the pair are on Instagram, they pretty much dominate my feed, even more than sewing does.

P.S. There’s now a Flickr group for the English Country Garden BOM since you asked nicely :)

A half finish

I have half-finished the postage stamp quilt, it’s huge…

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And there’s a strip for the back done… (yes I am actually piecing a back, please don’t die of shock)

It’s only half done because now I’m working on the applique to go over the top.

I did get some rather- ahem- interesting fabrics from people who will remain nameless (I know who you ALL are!), that feature in this quilt. Some scraps I’ve had a while, some arrived recently, all are as nutty as each other!

A troll and geese

Weird kitsch dog thing

Mushrooms

A pug

And a lion that looks like it may have had a little accident.

I promise there aren’t threads everywhere anymore and the photos are from before the blocks were joined so there are no gaps either!

P.S. Today is puppy day…

An acquisition…

Yeah I have new fabric…

jelly roll and fabric

The jelly roll is my winnings from Lily Pad Quilting, donated by Green Fairy Quilts and it’s a line by American Jane called Ducks in a Row. Having made quilts from her Pezzy Print and Punctuation lines already, this is a good fit for me. No idea what I will do with it yet though!

Next up, yes I bought. In the bundle of squares sent to me by Rosanne for the postage stamp quilt (more on that next post by the way) was this square from Pat Bravo’s Indie range and  had to get a good size piece for the stash. After finding a UK based supplier with amazing postage prices I succumbed, plus I got a bit of Kate Spain too.

That shop by the way is www.thelittlefabricpatch.co.uk and I can really recommend it- yes it’s a small shop but the selection is very me and not overpriced either, plus as I say, the postage, wow….

English Country Garden BOM – Block 1 – Daisy

Let’s get started!

Here’s your first pattern, the next one is out on the 5th May so this pattern is free to download until then.

BOMdaisycoverClick here to download

This pattern includes instructions on making bias tape stems, turned edge and raw edge machine applique, thread choices and the pattern in standard and mirrored formats depending on which type of applique you opt for. There are also various tips along the way and I’m always here if you get stuck, just leave a comment or email me.

daisy block

For previous posts on the BOM, please click the button below.

English Country Garden BOM – Choosing Your Fabric

The English Country Garden BOM starts tomorrow! If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about and are curious, it’s a free applique block of the month for those who like the look of applique but want an accessible way to approach it. Read more here and check back tomorrow for the first pattern.

The BOM lends itself well to scraps, which I’m all about this year it seems. The flowers in the series will be a range of colours, blue, yellow, red… so I thought it might be worth putting together a post with possibilities for background fabric choices so the colours really pop in the applique as that’s where the focus is.

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The four fabrics in the background are examples of the sort of fabrics you may be considering using in the background piecing. Most of the flowers will be high saturation or high volume fabrics (examples of the scraps are laid over the top) so you want these to still stand out.

Here are my feelings on these picks- for proper colour theory I suggest you check out Jeni’s blog posts.

Backing #1
This fabric has lots of colours going on and a vibrant pattern too. Fabrics like this may interfere with the impact of your applique. If you want to use fabrics with several colours in the print to make up your backgrounds, you maybe would want to consider using just solids for your applique, and use completely different colours- preferably complementary colours- in the background for maximum impact.

Backing #2
Tone on tone or blender fabrics minimise the distraction from the background and also give the eye a bit of a rest, making your quilt more visually appealing- in my opinion! Fabrics such as this red dot allow you to use fabrics that aren’t necessarily plain, but again, if your flower has a lot of yellow in it- for instance- you will want to avoid a yellow blender so choose carefully.

Backing #3 or #4
Even better than just looking at complementary colours is also considering the value too. Black and white are the most extreme examples of this but you could choose to go very dark or very light with your background picks (you could choose very dark orange, or very pastelly pink instead for example). I personally have selected the combination below, I’m using very dark blender fabrics: black, navy and brown. These will ensure that the saturated and more vibrant colours will pop, but a low volume background will work in a similar way too, however bear in mind that the first flower is a daisy, so the focus will be on the white petals. None of the flowers are navy, black or brown so I’m playing it safe!

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The idea of this BOM is that it uses such small pieces and it’s not designed to be perfectly coordinated (unless you have a fat eighth bundle you’re dying to use btw, I’m not stopping you at all!) so you could mix up your backgrounds each month. My advice would be to pick the applique fabrics for the block first (like I have above) and them place them on a few potential background fabrics and see what you think.

See you tomorrow!!

P.S. Found my memory card, phew!

 

Puppy puppy puppy puppy

Quick dash post today to say the new puppy is called Hank- it was on a very long list, but when we found out his pedigree name is Run Forest Run (and apparently Gump wasn’t an option ;) ) It re-surfaced and just made sense :)

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If you want to see lots more Hank pictures, you should know that we have a blog, and we intend to post a photo a day so we can watch him grow in pictures. It’s a bit ropey right now but with a bit of graphic work and a few more posts it will be fine. Here’s the link you need:

http://son-ofabitch.blogspot.co.uk
(geddit?)

If you want to see less Hank pictures (but I’m definitely not promising there will be none at all!) then please stay here.

The BOM posts will be up soon, I stupidly left my memory card with the pictures for the PDFs and blog posts at work (I hope, there’s a chance it’s fallen out of my bag somewhere and I’ve lost all of my photos but I’m trying not to think about that) so there may be a small delay of a day as I rush to finish! The fabric choice post will therefore be up on Monday with the pattern on Tuesday, so the schedule has been revised very slightly. Sorry about that!

WIP Wednesday: Heading into Quarter 2

Three Finishes in quarter 1 out of six possibles ain’t bad eh? I did work on the other three though, I was a good girl, I just didn’t actually finish them. So here’s what I want to have done by the end of June (starting with the new stuff)…

My current obsession, the postage stamp quilt. I made the 30 blocks I wanted to and then decided to increase it by another row of 5, plus 14 half blocks down each vertical, making it effectively 42 blocks. I have replaced the 5 duplicates which means I am completely out of 2 1/2″ squares again with 8 blocks to go, so I need 288 more squares. The postman has them though so don’t worry I’m not putting out a call for help again, they are actually on their way. Once that’s done I will need to do the applique over the top- but I haven’t told you who that is yet have I (well one person knows)…? I’m going to ask you to guess when I’ve made the appliqué. This will be my entry for the Festival of Quilts this year.

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I made this dress from Bike Path last week using a pattern that was free in a copy of Sew about four years ago. The skirt part fits great on my hips (pockets are too far away from my hands though?!) but the bodice is too big because the arm holes are baggy. Not sure why this keeps happening, maybe I have a dodgy tape measure?! SO for this to be finished I need to stop grumbling and take it in, including the lining, urgghh.

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Next up, I’ve not made any more progress on my sort-of-lone-star since these appliqué blocks. This will be scrappy too since I only seem to be making scrappy quilts at the moment. I do have a lot of scraps though and I enjoy the freedom and the make do side of it. The idea is it stops me buying new fabric. Stop laughing.

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My log cabin blocks are multiplying since the two I showed you in January, but I doubt this will be finished by the middle of the year since I want it bigger than my postage stamp quilt!

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The Row by Row quilt is now a complete top! I need to baste and quilt.

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The dreaded Hello Chevron top is now exactly halfway pieced after adding two more rows at the last MQG meeting. Yes I only managed two rows all day, I have no idea why I didn’t do better! I’ve started skipping the trimming step too as it’s driving me mad…

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I have some other bee quilt tops (three!) waiting to be basted, plus some half done Cathedral Windows destined to be a cushion but I really can’t face those yet. We will revisit that drawer next quarter. I also have at least two quilts to make for pitching to magazines as I’ve not done that for a month or two, a birthday cushion this month and there will be three blocks over this quarter for the BOM so it’s not like I don’t have enough there to get on with!

 

Finish Along 2014

Everything you need to know about the English Country Garden BOM

The blocks have been planned, the instructions are in the process of being made, and everything is due to get started on 7th April! The English Country Garden Block of the Month is designed for those that love scrappy quilts and appliqué, but also to dispel any fears that those who are a bit nervous of appliqué may have, working our way over the next year to a vibrant quilt to be proud of made from 12″ x 12″ blocks.

bombutton
Feel free to use this button on your blog if you would like to show your participation :) It’s a sneaky peek of block 1…

The blocks will be available in PDF format on Craftsy to download instantly for free on the first Monday of the month (except October as I will be flying back from Vancouver) with the supplementary material that will advise on other techniques and pieced backgrounds along the way. Each block pattern will be ready for full size print plus it will include layering instructions and an overview on two different types of machine appliqué included so you can choose the technique that most appeals to you. I’ll also list some other alternatives including the super-cheating-ultra-quick method I favour, you can even needle turn the pattern by hand if that’s your thing. There’s no right or wrong way, you could even combine techniques!

This guide and steps such as bias tape making will be included with every block in case you only want to make one, rather than the whole quilt. It’s up to you how far you follow, and there are no prizes for finishing first, as long as you are happily embracing appliqué!

Make sure you download the patterns before the next block is released as otherwise they will be charged at $1.50 each after this time, with the full collection available at the end of the BOM with all of the other bits and pieces for $15 if you’re reading this in the distant future…

The final design is a bit of a mystery at this stage as I will be making the quilt along with you, but I can tell you the finished size will be 44″ x 58″ unless you choose to add additional borders and there is some piecing throughout to keep it fun if you find the appliqué heavy going!

THE SCHEDULE (make sure you follow this blog if you want to know as soon as they are ready for download! Links will also be updated here)
-2014-
7th April: Choosing your fabrics: contrast and colour
8th April: Daisy pattern
Includes strip piecing the background, how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
5th May: Bluebell pattern
Includes a checkerboard pieced background, how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
2nd June: Iris pattern
Includes a log cabin background,  how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
7th July:Hyacinth pattern
Includes pieced flying geese background,  how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
4th August: Fuchsia pattern
Includes improv background,  how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
1st September: Dahlia pattern
Includes inset circle background,  how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
**delay as I am away getting married!**
13th October: Rose pattern
Includes strip piecing background again,  how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
3rd November: Poppy pattern
Includes checkerboard background again, how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
1st December: Pansy pattern
Includes log cabin background again,  how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
-2015-
5th January: Primrose pattern
Includes flying geese background again and two methods of machine appliqué.
2nd February: Marigold pattern
Includes improv background again,  how to make bias tape stems and two methods of machine appliqué.
2nd March: Clematis pattern – last block
Includes inset circle background again, and two methods of machine appliqué.
6th April: Finishing the top
Sashing, mini pinwheel cornerstones and borders.
7th April: Suggestions for quilting and finishing your quilt
Includes basting, quilting, squaring up, binding or facings, adding a sleeve for wall hanging, quilt labels.

So get your freezer paper, Sewline glue pens (or fusible webbing) and sharp scissors ready and I’ll see you in about a week for the start. If you have any friends who might enjoy sewing along, please send them this way!

Me me me

And more me… I just got my subscription copy of Popular Patchwork, which is in newsagents next Friday and there’s another of my quilt patterns in there- that’s right, I finally finished writing up Wallander!

It’s a good one because they used my photos too which is a bit of a confidence boost. And the next issue is a bag special, out 2nd May and that’s got a project of mine in it too!

To be honest if you like these projects, you may as well subscribe as I have got more in the works too. I love this job.

In fabric acquisition news, I also got a surprise email this morning that I had won a Ducks in a Row jelly roll from Green Fairy Quilts and I have also received some more squares from Pippa and Cindy, plus some yardage from Mary. Thank you!!

Oh by the way, I also saw a competition in here for this range of fabric called Marrakech which I love the look of, it even warranted a bigger picture so you can see it clearer. It’s by a new fabric house in the UK called Lewis & Irene. Another to add to my fantasy British fabric shop I will own in Canada (alongside Dashwood, selected Makower, Oakshott, Liberty…) ;)

The BOM is going to happen, more will be revealed very very soon so keep posted. Just sewing some things up quickly!

Puppy countdown-
T-minus days