Another Husqvarna grumble

I haven’t complained about my machine for at least two months (when it went off to be fixed) and once more the same problems are repeating themselves.

I’ve finished quilting the Left Alone Star and the tension was fab (more on that after I have decent photos). I learned early on not to cone feed for quilting – which is fine for piecing – but that was the only complaint my machine had, except occasionally not cutting the bobbin thread, which I have come to terms with never being 100% right anyway.

This morning I decided to carry on quilting, moving on to my Chandelier quilt and also use my new ruler foot from Westalee. It cost me a small fortune in customs, so I was eager to give it a shot. Following the instructions, I changed the needle, set the height of the foot correctly, lowered my feed dogs, disabled the auto presser foot feature and put it onto floating FMQ mode. I left the thread just how my machine likes it, the brand that it prefers and everything. Not a stitch could be made. I’ve always found this mode to be terrible and so switched over to my reliable hopping FMQ mode.

The tension was awful. The stitches were skipping and it looked like a repeat of the previous tension issue it went into the shop for. I tried rethreading it. Nope. I then made a small quilt sandwich and worked my way up from the 4.6 standard tension all the way to the maximum 9.8. I even tried lowering the foot a little more that the guide recommends.

It looked a lot better but still some stitches were being skipped.

So now I need to unpick this sort of pizza slice I made and go for standard straight line quilting I think. I’ll have to leave the trial and error for another time, maybe for when my machine is fresh out of the shop again, or maybe when I get that new machine once we move. I can tell you though that the motion and control of quilting with rulers is bloody fantastic, I know I will be a fan, even if my machine isn’t!

Quilt top adoption

In my quest to clear out the majority of my life’s collection of “stuff” it’s time to hit the WIP drawer. I have the following quilt tops and blocks which I would love to give away for free to someone who can put them to good use, for charity donations, etc. I’d prefer to post in the UK to keep my costs down so UK residents will be given priority, and I will be posting the slowest, cheapest method I can.

As long as you will love these projects more than I do, or they will be used for a good cause, they’re yours. I’m being ruthless and trying not to be sentimental- quite hard when it comes to bees, gifts and swaps!

To claim any of these, leave me a comment on this post or email me:



Gwen can be included as we’re looking for a home for her too….

First up I have this top made from Popular Patchwork forum row by row swap members. My selected colours were black background and rainbow blocks. It measures 62″ x 64″.


I also have these from the same forum, some 12″ blocks made entirely from solids. I never did receive my 12th one which is why there are only 11. These blocks are 12″. I will also throw in these 10 6″ “hug hearts” which were sent to me for my wedding by the same group of generous ladies!


Next up is this bee top (more pics here). It’s from the UK Borders Agency bee I set up a few years ago and all rounds were made by lovely ladies I am still (mostly) in touch with today. This top has sat untouched for two years. I’m going to give first dibs to my bee mates. It’s huge, it measures 76″ x 66″.

Last is another bee top, this was from Free Two Bee- the Around the Bend and Across the Pond bee from 2013 also. It’s a bit smaller this one (52″ x 43″) and in pastels. I also have a signature block for the back which will be sent with it (if I find it). The diamond blocks in particular are beautiful but I was restrained enough not to rip them out for myself!

I hope something here catches your eye!

Chandelier – A Quilt Top

This weekend has been very productive for sewing, what with all of the rain and Alex being at work for two of the three days. On Saturday I finished day 2 of the Companion Carpet Bag sew along on both bags and on Sunday I finished sewing this quilt top:

Lunch box and dog conveniently cropped out of the image...

Lunch box and dog conveniently cropped out of the image…

The fabrics are Chandelier by Studio M, they have a lovely gold metallic element to each print. I’m not sure how I am going to quilt it yet but I feel a touch of metallic gold thread is on the cards. I’m not a fan of table basting but at the moment I’ve not got a hard floor to baste on so I may dither a bit at this stage.

On Sunday I made decent progress into the quilting of the left A-Lone Star quilt. I want a different name for that when it’s finished. If you’ve seen my progress on Instagram you will know that a big reveal is not far away…

Pets on Quilts Judging

The judging is open for Pets on Quilts if I can gently nudge you that way? My entries are Hank, Frankly for the animal themed quilt (#2) and Hank himself for the dog on quilt (#44). I have of course voted for other people rather than myself being the sporting person that I am *cough* and would urge you to vote for the ones you like best in all four categories (the others being other pet on quilt and cat on quilt), obviously I will graciously accept any votes you want to give Hank.

He is being a very good boy, yesterday was the first time that he has been left on his own for an entire work day (intentionally- Alex once slept until I got home from work) as our dog walker lady is on holiday. With Alex on 24 hour rotating shifts it doesn’t happen too often that we need her nowadays anyway. Hank is having another go at it today. Those who saw my post on IG earlier in the week will know that Gwen isn’t even here to keep him company at the moment. She’s on a trial run with a family who may adopt her when we move… we get her back tomorrow though!

I wanted to be a journalist

When I was a kid, after I went through the initial nurse phase that all five-year-old girls- even squeamish ones like me- went through and before the “I want to be a lorry driver and work alone away from people” phase, I wanted to be a journalist. I signed up for the Newsround Press Pack (many real journalists started this way, does it still exist?) and promptly wrote absolutely nothing. However, I knew I wanted to write when I grew up, I just didn’t know how to find a story.

I guess I’m sort of almost there now in a very loose sense. On Friday, the latest issue of Popular Patchwork came out, edited by the new and wonderful Liz, and inside is my article on postmodern quilters. I have another article coming up as you may have read this weekend, which will be about quilt trends and in between that is one on Instagram swaps. I’m now wracking my brain for further topics to examine. I am definitely not a quilt historian, though I am going to do a bit more reading and research into it, I’m more into quilting sociology I suppose. I’m interested in why quilters do what they do and reporting the latest news, looking at patterns in behaviour and how we communicate. I guess that’s a kind of journalism. I’ve previously written about the East Midlands Modern Quilt Group too.

If you would like to read my article on postmodern quilts and quilters (which was inspired by #QuiltconReject earlier in the year) then Popular Patchwork is in UK stores now (and digitally available too). I’m a firm believer in readable content in quilting magazines, I can’t sit down with a cup of tea and read a pattern… well I could but it would be dull. Whilst having a flick through just looking at pictures of what I could make is great initially, the features are the most interesting and the most important for me, and I’m hoping there’s an audience that feels the same.

Pets on Quilts 2015

It’s Pets on Quilts time again! I don’t know why I didn’t enter adorable-6-month-old-puppy Hank last year, but I will be entering the Dog on Quilt category with grown-up Hank this year…

The quilt is Left A-Lone Star- soon to have a better name when actually finished. It’s sat unquilted for over a year, maybe even two years which is a long time for a WIP for me. This weekend I started properly quilting it. I just felt like quilting instead of piecing and my tension was behaving itself for a change! I’d like to finish it before this quarter of the finish along so I have something to show!

I’m about a quarter of the way through. Here’s the quilting sans-dog…

Times like this make me really really want a longarm

I’ve probably reached the English Pointer quota by entering Hank, Frankly into the Animal Themed Quilt category too.

Go to the Pets on Quilts linky party here!

Quick shout out for volunteers

I've made several sew together bags, I'm not immune to a craze :)

I’ve made several Sew Together bags, I’m not immune to a craze :)


I’ll keep this short and to the point. I’m looking for a few people to take part in a very short interview for possible inclusion in a future magazine article on the subject of quilt trends that I am writing right now. If you have made or are making one, or preferably more than one of the following quilts/bags and would like to be included in my feature, leave me a comment saying which and I’ll drop you an email very soon! I will have a couple of questions for you and will ask permission to use a photograph in some cases. In return I will make sure you are referenced and will provide you with a press cutting.

  • Dear Jane
  • Farmer’s Wife
  • Economy Blocks
  • Scrap Vomit
  • Tone It Down
  • Hexy MF (or hexies in general)
  • Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses
  • My Small World
  • St Louis 16 Patch
  • Scrappy Trip Around the World
  • Marcelle Medallion
  • Green Tea and Sweet Beans/ Gypsy Wife
  • La Passacaglia
  • Swoon
  • X-Plus
  • Great Granny Squares
  • Single Girl
  • Hazel the Hedgehog
  • Sew Together Bag
  • Triple Zip Pouch
  • Weekender Bag

Thank you for your help!

I’ve also made a Weekender, still going strong!

And a Great Granny quilt too!

Chandelier Progress

Four green blocks done, Two purple blocks done, just teal, white and red, and also black to finish. Seven down, 13 more to go. It’s good job the Great British Bake Off is back for me to watch whilst I trim these blocks! OH is on nights this weekend and sleeping in during the day so I’ll probably get lots more done. I’m not bored of this one- yet.

I’ve got a bag on!

That’s a Leicestershire (or specifically Coalville? Not sure) expression for being grumpy and in a bad mood, however I’m actually not (and the phrase makes me smile anyway!), because I’m joining in with the Companion Bag Sew Along with Happy Okapi! I have had the Mrs H pattern a while and I’ve been pondering it, going as far as buying the frames and handles, then I sort of moved on to other things. Suddenly a sew along started up and so it gave me a kick up the bum to make my bags.

Yep bags– I’m making two of the smaller ones. Here is the pattern, it costs just a fiver (pic links through to the shop to buy it):

Pooch would not go away, this is the only shot I got without him stood on the bag pieces- I think he just poses overtime I get a camera or phone out, he’s such a dork

Bag 2

The first sew along post is here and it started yesterday for the next three weeks – plus another three to finish up – if you fancy joining in too. Samantha’s patterns are always easy to follow- I can vouch for that, and you won’t need the frames until later so you can get started right away.

The frames go inside channels making it look very professional, and they can be purchased from Bobbin Girl or Emmaline Bags or 3DAN Supplies on Etsy. It’s the frame design that made me need to have a go at this.

I’ve also made a little detail from plastic flowers to go on the front of the bag that will use the Melody Miller vintage flower fabric. Actually I made it 10 weeks ago according to Instagram, but I didn’t know what bag I was going to use it on before. The solid red front pocket should make it stand out!

Next job is to cut out a gusset fabric and do the interfacing etc. I also didn’t want to use up valuable outer fabric inside the pocket where it wouldn’t be seen, so I’ve modified my pattern, here’s how if you want to do the same.

I printed the main template twice.

I overlaid the pocket on top of one of the body templates and marked where the pocket met. I then measured 1 1/2″ down from this line and drew across. This line is roughly where the outer fabric stops and the inside pocket fabric will start. Measure 1/4″ below the line. This adds a seam allowance to the top piece.

 Cut along this new line.

To add a seam allowance to the bottom piece, we need to add 1/2″- this makes up for the 1/4″ we just loaned to the top and also a standard 1/4″ seam allowance. Stick a strip of surplus paper to the top of the template, draw the continuation of the side lines and also draw a 1/2″ line from the edge of the original piece. Cut out.

Your required pieces to cut are now different. You only need to cut one outer and one interfacing for the full bag body piece, plus one interfacing and one outer for each of your new two templates. Your pocket remains unchanged. Make sure when you cut out your pattern pieces that the straight edge of the pattern is aligned to a fold on the fabric. Apply your interfacing before you stitch your new top and bottom back together, then apply other stabilisers as normal.

Do let me know if you are following along each week! Full info on the sew along here including how to match up the fabric pattern so it’s seamless between outer and pocket. I opted not to do that on the BasicGrey one because it has a large repeat and I was trying to use as little fabric as possible, but it does look awesome when it’s done. I just ordered another frame and handles because I already want to make a third with the cool Nomad print I brought back from holiday!

More mags

Earlier in the year I made the kaleidocurve cushion, and then I didn’t tell you.

It’s now in British Patchwork and Quilting, out now- my first project for them. There are two more cushions to come.


Also this month (though it’s coming to the end of it’s shelf life to be honest) is my Pascale bag in Popular Patchwork. It uses a charm pack and a glue gun and a small saw to make it- what’s not to like?! It is the patchwork version of a carpet type bag I made for Alex’s aunt Pascale to replace her favourite one which was getting a bit worn. She seemed to like it but I definitely prefer this patchwork one, so when it comes back to me I will see if she wants it first!