Really Random Thursday Puppy Special

Thanks for bearing with me whilst I pimped my services yesterday- it actually resulted in a couple of jobs so thank you those people, you know who you are! Also thank you to Sarah as I got some more squares in the post! I wonder if there will be more today?

I now know which Pointer puppy is ours and I cannot wait to get him home, just over two weeks to go. Here he is!

photo 2

And the whole litter…photo 1

He will look like his mum when he’s older…

picture shamelessly nicked from

At the minute I’ve nicknamed him dipstick because of his tail. It’s black with a very definitely marked white tip. I want to call him Spencer, Alex I think is preferring Hector at the minute. Anyone remember Hector’s House? That’s why.

Another name in the hat is Bosworth but I think this is a bit too posh sounding, even if it shortens to the not-very-posh Boz.


On a not-so-random-Thursday topic, inspiration has struck for devising an applique BOM which can be done either by hand turning, by machine fusible applique or with my favourite method, turned edge machine applique. The blocks I have started drawing are not over complicated and will be 12″ square and there will be 12 of them, keeping with the usual BOM tradition. There will be different stylised flowers on a theme of English Country Garden (Summer is coming!). I see so many wonderful scrappy and contemporary applique quilts right now, a lot of them being made by Australian quilters (I’m thinking Sarah Fielke and Jen Kingwell style), and I feel we could get in on the action a little. Any tentative participants? :) Full instructions will be provided here on the blog as well as suggestions for background piecing with block one (Daisy), I’ll make the templates and fabric selection guide available as a Craftsy free download for that month.

P.S. Is high volume a thing like low volume is? What are almost black/ grey/ navy fabrics collectively called?


Shameless self-promotion and very much off-topic

We’re getting a puppy in two weeks! With puppies come financial demands though that are a bit more than buying an older dog from a rescue centre, they need boosters and special puppy food and a indoor crate, a travel crate, toys to prevent them destroying your home, extra garden proofing, training classes, special enzyme sprays for toilet training, more treats for training purposes, varying sizes of collars, harnesses and leads…. yeah, what exactly are we letting ourselves in for?!

Anyway because of this I thought I’d shamelessly plug somewhere else I haunt online on occasion. I freelance do odd jobs here on PeoplePerHour.

Do you need cut out images? I can do that. I can also ghost write blog posts (and have written some on cruise ship safety of all things!). How about making a Word document from a PDF, or creating a logo design? Yep I can do that too! I can also design brochures, proof-read and edit all but the most technical documents, create pattern repeats and digitise print documents so you can edit them on a computer again.

I can help out in most marketing and media aspects to be honest, so if you have a custom query, please let me know. Chances are if I can’t help (like if you want a WordPress website or a wedding photographer, for instance), I know someone who can and I’ll gladly refer you!

If you have some skills you can offer on the side and you want to make a little bit of extra cash too, here is my referral link. By signing up with this I will receive £10 commission for your first project, so it’s all good, just don’t price me out of my own market, yeah? ;) Let me know if you do sign up and I’ll star some of your hourlies to help your ratings out.

How to make- and use- tailor’s tacks

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You know how on dress making patterns, they often have marks for darts or buttons maybe, but the dots for them are right in the middle of the pattern? You can’t draw them out, and if you’re not using carbon paper to mark your pattern onto the fabric you may wonder how to transfer them onto the fabric when you’re making them. You need the age-old dressmaking favourite- the tailor’s tack!

Tailor’s tacks are loose bits of thread through your fabric that pull out simply once you no longer need them. They’re great on cottons, knits (if you’re careful and don’t snag) and some synthetic  fabrics but be aware that they are not great on silk, leather, and other sensitive materials where the puncture hole will show once the garment is complete.

I learned how to do these in dressmaking class about 18 months or so ago and they’re really useful, here’s how you do it!

DSCF66681) Cut a nice long bit of contrasting thread and thread through the needle, doubling it up so that the tail is equal length.

DSCF66702) With your pattern still pinned to the fabric, insert your needle through the pattern and the fabric (both layers if folded or cutting two!) and back up from one side of the dot to the other.

DSCF66723) Don’t pull tight, leave a decent size loop of thread and reinsert through the same hole in the same direction. I like to do this a total of three times, leaving an equal size loop each time.

DSCF66754) Take off your needle and trim so that the thread is the same length each side of the dot, then cut through the loops you made.

DSCF66775) Take off the pattern and start to pull the fabric layers apart. Making sure you don’t pull the top threads through completely, snip the threads equally between layers so that the stitches remain on both pieces of fabric.


Now you can use these dots for accurate darts, etc and the bit of thread simply put or brush out once you’re done!

A slight obsession

Those that have seen my IG feed this weekend will know that I’ve been consumed by my latest project. I’ve been calling it a scrap vomit, but officially it’s a postage stamp quilt. Once I have all 30 blocks made (but I might make an additional 5 half blocks) there will be a monotone appliqué going over the top!

So here’s how it looks at the minute- 20 blocks in…


Some parts will be completely covered by the black appliqué so rather than use up valuable scraps, I made up this transparent template and compared to the paper appliqué template hidden underneath. I stuck tape on the squares that would be completely covered and used a really ugly piece of fabric for those bits.


All fabric, nice and fugly are cohabiting in this quilt and that’s exactly what I wanted, though I want each square to be different fabric. I went through my scrap drawer and sorted through my basket of 2 1/2″ squares I’d been collecting for about a year for this project and still I managed to mess up, even on the same 12″ block! I’ve put tape on the squares to be substituted before all the blocks get sewn together. This particular block needs a bit of reworking but I think it only affects two or three.


My basket now looks like this- barely enough for one more block let alone 10 more. This is where 10 awesome people on Instagram have come to my aid and I’m expecting around 500 more squares in the post from four different countries which will be more than enough (I hope!). Thank you very much to Jo, Krista, Ange, Trudi, Pippa, Cindy, Hannah W, Hannah A and Rosanne :) If you’re on Instagram, make sure you follow all of them if you don’t already!


I did succumb to the Fabric Guild and fell off the wagon in terms of my fabric fast so that I could buy the little scrap and charm packs in this picture. They are already cut up and in blocks, the spares have gone into my swaps with some of the lovely people above.


And that 3 yard cut of Bike Path? Well that’s already being put to use (£3 a yard, can you believe it?!)- I’m making a dress! I’m not having fun with pattern matching though as the skirt is two pieces front and back so I have three converging pieces at the waist. It’s a simple pattern but for a print as linear and simple, it’s not the best choice I could have made. A busier pattern would have hidden the join much better.


Tomorrow: What are tailor’s tacks and how do you make them?

My Offset Warehouse Spring Contest Winner

Susan Middleton:
The items are for Lily (a little Westie) and Rolo (a big Chocolate Labrador): Two beautifully fitted dog coats with the handblocked fabric on view and lined with fleece, and I would use Offset’s lovely organic cotton tape and mother of pearl buttons for the fastenings.
I chose the cream organic fleece for the utilitarian part of the project – the keeping dry and keeping clean – and the Pankha organic hand block print for the design element.  I thought that the slate blue background would complement the usual blue denim jeans and dark blue waxed jacket.

You can see all the other winners on Offset Warehouse’s Facebook page.  A list of my highly commended submissions will also be on there in the next few days too, so check it out – you might be on it!!  Also please don’t forget to VOTE for Susan’s final creation once Lily and Rolo have their jackets!


WIP Wednesday – Scrappy Special

My finish along list included a plan to make a scrappy log cabin quilt big enough for a bed. I’m now aiming for a 7 blocks x 7 blocks layout so I’ve made a bit of progress and now two blocks have become this…

I’m finding it a little bit dull again so I’m going to put it aside again. Now what I should be doing is finishing theHello Chevron quilt, and yes I have added two more rows making the top half done now, but if I did that I’d have nothing on my finish along list for the next quarter ;) With this in mind, I’ve started the quilt I will be entering in the Festival of Quilts this year. I can’t get much further though without making a decision. Do I trapunto my entire design so the actual feature (clue: it’s a face) is within the quilting, almost like a magic eye puzzle, or do I make it a lot more overt and appliqué the design all in black over the top? Either way the background is made up of scrappy squares I have collected for a little while now, and here’s a square I made up by randomly selecting and stitching this morning.

If I choose the appliqué route, I need to factor this in to my design as there’s no point covering a nice piece of fabric entirely so I will be stitching muslin squares where it won’t be visible. What would you do? I need to decide now because I’m having too much fun just randomly stitching these together to stop!

Progress this weekend

On Friday morning I made this little guy for a package I put together for a little girl that’s just become a big sister. The pattern is from the current issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting. Whilst I rarely make things from magazines (I just tend to read the articles), this was very tempting as they are so quick to make! There’s a larger mummy version too but I really had to leave the house by this point. I traced the pattern pieces on freezer paper and it made cutting the pattern out easy, plus no magazines were harmed in the making!

Saturday was International Quilting Day so I decided I had better do some sewing, despite doing a big spring clean and having people round for tea. I made this 22″ cushion, which will be to add to my MIL’s collection for Mother’s Day…


There’s a covered zip on the back and it helped dent some of my strip scrap collection, though I’ve also made a few log cabin blocks recently which is also assisting with this. I have another cushion to make her soon too as it is her birthday next month.


And then the last stitches went in this morning, but I’ve put the Row by Row quilt top together finally (blurry pic) after what, at least 6 months of having the rows? Now if I can get this quilted and finished for the end of the month I will have had the most successful finish along quarter yet!



Last weekend I decided to have a go at making my own cheese.

On Saturday I prepared the culture in milk and let it stand, then sunday I froze it into cubes. I boiled a vat of milk…

Cooled it quickly and added vegetarian rennet (from stinging nettles) and a couple of spoons of leftover culture. Let it stand til Monday morning and put the contents into a cheesecloth to drain off the whey…

On tuesday morning the collected curds were squidged together…

And by thursday I had my own cream cheese with a hint of maple syrup! I wasn’t sure I liked it at first but after a few crackers it tasted fine, just a bit tangier than your supermarket stuff! Next on the agenda is to get a different bacteria and make hard cheese.

An update from The Big Spring Contest

There are more prizes to be had in The Big Spring Contest from Offset Warehouse! You have until this Sunday to let me know on this post, what you would like to make on the theme of pets and animals from the fabrics available at Offset Warehouse, and check out the overview post which details the themes from the other three bloggers for a total of four entries. I will pick a winner to receive free fabric to make their project and then the winners from each of the four blogs will go head to head to win the bundle of prizes.

I’ve already listed some of the prizes here, however the following have recently been announced to add to the haul!

A Boho Hemp T-Shirt (yogawear, men’s, women’s, or children’s choices up for grabs)

£50 voucher for Po Zu shoes and sandals

Sew It Forward Knitting Gift Set

For more information on the prizes and the companies donating them, check out this post.

If you have been thinking but are still stuck for ideas, maybe the new fabrics that Offset Warehouse have listed this week will help inspire you.

How about some lovely drape-y Pink Chambray?

Or some light blue denim?

Or maybe some unusual banana basketweave?

More new fabrics can be seen here. Just be quick! This is the post to leave your entry comment on.

Tote bag swap

I wish I had realised how bad the photos were of this before I sent it off on Saturday!

I made a bag for the secret tote bag swap- my partner liked dull colours with a bit of orange and duck egg blue which meant it was a bit of a challenge to move away from the usual colour-fest style swap. We were given the theme of geometry and I decided I wanted to have a go at Octagons and machine pieced a front pocket. I honestly ran out of time to do the other side so I hope it qualifies.

The handles are webbing and there’s a big zip to keep things from falling out. I made it up as I went along but now I’m thinking I could make another with two Octagon-y pockets from a Scrumptious charm pack and write a tutorial sometime.