Bloghop thing

Ruth asked me to take part in the Around the World blog hop. I don’t normally like these things but seeing as I like her, here are my answers…

1. What am I working on?
I’ve done absolutely nothing on my Finish Along list, so I guess I’m not working on any of THAT, but I had a play with a jelly roll on Sunday morning after being ill in the night and having clever ideas as a result (anyone else get this?). So this will probably be my next project when I have some sewing time. Maybe tonight?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It probably doesn’t, but I don’t like rules. Rules are for schools. I don’t like that something seemingly has to be classed as either traditional or modern by quilt police on either side. I don’t like that brown and batiks are the bad guys of the moment but feedsack repro prints (which I love by the way) and Liberty fabrics are somehow fresh and “on trend” despite their roots being just as historically placed. I can get behind ‘contemporary’ as it just means I made it now, which is true. Anyway blah blah you’ve heard all this before….


I have noticed a bit of a theme starting to emerge and that is I like to make things that relate to me culturally. That sounds like I’m being artsy and arrogant, but what I mean is I like making stuff that is to do with entertainment of my time. I’ve made a quilt block in the shape of a floppy disk, I made the famously redundant Billy Bass, an iPhone inspired cushion and I’ve featured Stephen Fry and David Bowie on quilts. I’d quite like to make a CD-ROM quilt and also if I’m going to make another celebrity quilt I’m pretty certain it will be Annie Lennox next. No hard hitting “proper art” relating to real news issues will come from me I can assure you on that, though I think Jacquie Gering does it wonderfully.

There are many many exceptions though to these rules, as explained in….

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I also like making animal quilts, mostly because they usually turn out right so I’m comfortable making them. I need to make a bear one for OH soon actually, I have promised. What happened was, I made the moose and it got promoted from the designated wall to the living room and now the designated wall is still quilt naked….


I make stuff that is designed as patterns so needs to be more commercial in design, fabric choices, etc. Yeah I’m a sell out ;) My quilting habit is funded by the sale of my patterns to magazines, and more recently, within my Craftsy shop. So I have to take this into account and that’s why a lot of my quilts don’t actually fit in with what I said over the previous two paragraphs.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

I take photos as I work on my new designs and make barely legible notes of measurements, sometimes on the table (or the wall) itself if I’ve got no paper to hand. Then if I pitch the end result to a magazine, all I need to do is use the pictures and notes as a memory guide It amazingly always works.

Whilst I’m talking about my thoughts on design and stuff, it falls in neatly with a meme doing the rounds that I saw on Molli Sparkles’ blog yesterday

13 Spools
I think this is a great idea, and it brings a bit of realism into blogland that isn’t all “everybody loves this fabric so you should too”, and, “I’ve got a new book out, you’d better buy it because everyone else has” that. Sometimes we have these doubts that we’re not fitting in with the crowd, and that’s OK. Here’s the original post by Amy. May as well do this as well, then!
  1. I am scared of Y seams and mess them up every time I am brave enough to try them again.
  2. I seriously do not have the time for hand quilting, hand applique, hand anything. The machine is king in this house. Actually I don’t think that’s really a secret. I only break this rule to avoid machine Y seams!
  3. I don’t get the hype around Anna Maria Horner’s designs- I liked some of True Colors and the daisy-type print in Pretty Potent but the rest, no thanks. I own the ones I like. I do admire her FU attitude to traditional colour combinations though, Alison Glass is also amazing at this.
  4. I think brown and neon colours are a pretty awesome combination.
  5. I don’t ever bury my thread ends. I just snip them off and nothing has fallen apart yet.
  6. I think some notions, fabric ranges, magazines, etc are overrated, and my cynical side says this is due to a very well created marketing campaign, but I’m not completely sold (Clover wonder clips, Cotton + Steel and Aurifil amongst others, I’m looking at you, you marketing geniuses).
  7. Sometimes I use polyester batting. Bowie quilt is a case in point.
  8. I just can’t make a quilt entirely from solids, and I’m not even sorry. Solids (and shot cottons) are a bit boring for me, I need my fabrics to be exciting too. Closest I got was Wallander and that was pretty boring.
  9. I have never used a twin needle.
  10. If I pucker up my quilt backs when quilting I just whack a label over it, sometimes the labels are VERY big.

Hundreds and Thousands finish and Giveaway winner

Another finish!
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This quilt is made with a confetti technique of slicing a bunch of scraps to hell and then catching them in a net of tulle. I’ve called it Hundreds and Thousands because the little slices look like cake sprinkles. It’s wall hanging size so I’ve popped a sleeve on the back. Once it’s been published, it will go into my Etsy shop. I need to remember to put Mr Bowie in there soon too.

Size – 54″ square
Number of blocks – n/a
Time to make– an hour of prep and positioning stuff, five hours of quilting and three hours of slow binding and adding a sleeve – 9 hours
Fabric – Scraps shredded into oblivion and Klona white
Backing Fabric – Some heavy weight Ikea stuff
Binding Fabric – More Klona
Threads – Coats Moon, plus Superior Threads monofilament
Batting – 80/20 Soft and Elegant
Quilting- Vertical matchstick over the scraps but 1″ wider apart on the plain edges.


In other business, I’ve drawn the winner for the fat quarter bundle giveaway! It’s my fellow Sewvivor contestant Marci - we’ve both been knocked out of this round (I think Billy Bass might have been a bit too crass for more discerning tastes) so it’s nice of Mr Random to choose her!


Give it away, give it away, give it away now….

This is my 900th post! Looking back, I’ve been blogging since June 2008, but I missed my six year blogiversary, so hopefully you won’t mind a giveaway now.


I bought this custom FQ bundle from Fluffy Sheep Quilting as a prize knowing this would be coming up soon. I want to offer it to my readers as you are the reason I’ve kept going all this time, otherwise I’d be talking to no one!

There are four ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment, any comment.
  2. Let me know in another comment if you follow my blog in a reader, by email, etc.
  3. If you have voted in the Sewvivor competition, please let me know in another comment. The voting is open until midnight EST tonight (or 5am GMT tomorrow, Thurs 14th) so you will need to be quick if you haven’t already! Here’s the link. I’m number 3 if you fancy helping me into the next round ;)
  4. Spread the word on social media somewhere that I’m doing this giveaway, or if you’d rather, spread the word about Sewvivor voting, but before the deadline closes please if you take this option. Please tell me in another comment if you have done this.

I will be drawing a winner randomly this Sunday, which is 17th August. It will probably be the morning around 9am GMT so get your entries in before then.

Thanks for sticking with me :)


Billy Bass Mini Quilt (Sewvivor round 1) – plus a tutorial on adding sound to quilts

Ta da! Here’s my round one entry for the Nautical theme- a turned edge applique Billy Bass quilt. And I added sound too!


And a video to show that it works…


Size – 18″ x 11″
Number of blocks – n/a
Time to make– 4 hours not including component-related thinking time
Fabric – Scraps, including a perfect silver metallic print, some Architextures and the base board is a wood grain from Lush Uptown.
Backing Fabric – Plain muslin- it’s for hanging after all
Binding Fabric – More Lush Uptown wood grain- different shade
Threads – Gutermann, plus Superior Threads monofilament
Batting – 80/20 Soft and Elegant
Quilting- Woodgrain echo and also outline quilting on the fish. Trapunto added for dimension.

I decided well in advance that if I made it through to the first round of Sewvivor, I was going to make a Billy Bass quilt for my nautical themed entry- he’s a sea bass rather than a river bass after all! Billy Bass is a short-lived weird gift fad from the early 2000s, therefore it only seemed fitting that I displayed him in my bathroom- I don’t have a “smallest room” for it, just the one lav’ in our house!


So I made all my freezer paper templates ready from this illustration of a sea bass I found via Google Images and when I found out I was lucky enough to get through, the making properly started, and in earnest. If you want to know or try the process behind making up a design, may I point you to this tutorial I wrote previously, or any of my BOM patterns.


Whilst I was gluing the seam allowances, Ange and Anita on Instagram both suggested I should make him sing. It was just too irresistible! Sadly I didn’t have the time or the expertise to make him dance too, but how awesome would that have been?

Here’s the next step after making up the fish appliqué. I first made my background panel from a woodgrain fabric I had from my Lush Uptown bundle. I cut it 11 1/2″ x 18 1/2″, cut the corners rounded using tape as a template and a small rotary cutter and stuck the appliqué down with glue with a bit of toy stuffing underneath to give it a raised, trapunto effect. I also folded the ends over on a gold coloured fabric, using the reverse to mute the print, and stitched Billy on the top with monofilament and a tiny stitch.

I’m really looking forward to making a bag for the next challenge, so to help make that a reality (your votes are 50%, the judges are the other half)…

Please go and vote here!



DSCF7618 copy

Here’s the tutorial on adding a sound box to a quilt…

A finished quilt to add sound to
A recordable sound chip
A push button switch (this and the above were purchased from Talking Products)
5″ square of fabric
Temporary fabric marker
A sewing machine capable of zig-zag stitch
Small sharp scissors
Needle and thread for hand stitching

My quilt has corner triangles on the reverse so that a dowel can be used to hang the quilt. If you’re doing the same, I highly recommend adding these as you stitch the binding to the back so you can make use of the same stitching for a quick and tidy finish.

DSCF75831) I decided on the placement of the button first, and drew around the button for the incision.

2) On my particular chip, you can have it push button activated or it has a greetings card style slide switch. Record the message (or play a bit of music into it as I did) using the microphone attached to the chip – I purchased the Al Green song, Take me to the River on iTunes for this purpose and played a section of it into the chip from my phone.

DSCF7585DSCF7586 DSCF75873) With small sharp scissors, cut out the centre of the circle drawn through all the layers, sew all the way around the edge using a satin stitch or a zig-zag with the width set very short.

DSCF75894) Unplug the standard button from the chip. Feed the wire for the push button switch through the hole from the front to the back and secure with the washer and nut.

DSCF75915) Now make a pocket for the chip so it can be removed for washing if necessary. Fold one edge of the 5″ square over onto the back by about 1/8″ to 1/4″. Fold over again to hide the raw edge. Press and top stitch along the edge.

DSCF75926) The seam becomes the top of the pocket. Snip the two bottom corners off, no further than 1/4″ in. Fold the sides in 1/4″ and press, followed by the bottom.

DSCF75937) The pocket now needs to be hand sewn onto the back of the quilt along the three unsewn edges. Position the pocket and pin into place. Sew around the edges using the same stitch as you would for hand stitching the binding down- only sewing through the backing fabric.

DSCF75968) Connect the new button in the same location on the circuitboard as the original button. The chip can now be safely nestled inside the pocket, press the button and make sure it works! If you need to wash the quilt, make sure you unplug the button and take out all electrics.


P.S. My next post will be my 900th! I’ll be doing a nice fabric giveaway of an FQ bundle in my next post so make sure you bookmark or follow this blog if you are new so you don’t miss out!

Festival of Quilts round up

I have such sore feet! My camera ran out of juice halfway round, but these are some of the quilts that caught my eye. My judge’s comments were good cop bad cop again- one gave me two ‘excellents’, one gave me two ‘satisfactory’s and told me to think about the colour of thread I used- err yeah I did, I wanted black on top! The good cop one told me blocking would help with getting it to hang better which is something I thought was for crochet and knitting…. I haven’t got a floor big enough but would be interested to know more about this if anyone knows any good links?

Anyway, these are the ones I really loved, though some of my photos don’t show the name cards properly. I also came away with a stack of fabric and my first Bloc Loc ruler :)

I didn't get the maker's name- if anyone has it please let me know!

I didn’t get the maker’s name- if anyone has it please let me know!

By Anneleze Littlefair

By Anneleze Littlefair

Carmen Arevalo Sanchez and Silvia Gonzalez Medina

by Tracy Aplin

by Tracy Aplin

Credit needed

Credit needed

Mini by Jane Sully

Mini by Jane Sully

Credit needed

Credit needed

Credit needed

Credit needed

by Paula Flaherty (I think)

by Paula Rafferty

Credit needed

Credit needed


Our entry from EMMQG

Our entry from EMMQG

By the Kitchen Quilters

By the Kitchen Quilters

Credit needed

Credit needed

Credit needed

Credit needed

by Carmen Navarro Alonso and Silvia Gonzalez Medina

by Carmen Navarro Alonso and Silvia Gonzalez Medina

by Olwen Shears

by Olwen Shears

both by Elena Folomyeva

both by Elena Folomyeva

both by Elena Folomyeva

all by Elena Folomyeva

by Cheryl Kirby

by Cheryl Kirby

by ..... O'Connor

by ….. O’Connor

Credit needed

Credit needed

by Maggie Barber

by Maggie Barber

by Sue Dawson

by Sue Dawson

by the lovely Hannah Annear aka Quirkyhannah

by the lovely Hannah Annear aka Quirkyhannah

by Sheena Norquay

by Sheena Norquay

by Ulrike Tillmanns

by Ulrike Tillmanns



I don’t get it!

Picture by @quirkyhannah on IG

The lovely Reene has tagged me on photos coming up on Instagram of my David Bowie quilt, there are four (1, 2, 3, 4) so far not from people I know which means that people actually like it or something! I don’t understand, the quilting is really awful after my machine malfunction and I maintain that the chin is not right, or the face shape, it’s my least favourite quilt ever….

From @roseewoodland on Instagram

I mean, look at this one!!!! I am a bit embarrassed by it :) More pictures from the show when I go tomorrow!

English Country Garden BOM – Block 5 – Fuchsia

Here’s your next pattern for the BOM, the Fuchsia. The next one is out on the 1st September so this pattern is free to download until then. Previous templates are $1.50 in my Craftsy shop if you missed out.

Click here to download

This pattern includes repeat instructions from the last block, but with new templates. The instructions are: 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. Instructions are included for an improv background too.

I’m on the end of an e-mail if you get stuck, just leave a comment or email me.

For previous posts on the BOM, please click the button below. Don’t forget to share your photos in the Flickr group!

Hank – Pets on Quilts

Hank is coming up to his 6 month “birthday”, he’s a big boy, but is a puppy honest ;)

Regular visitors will know that Hank is a regular on this blog, and sometimes his auntie Gwen, our older greyhound, makes an appearance too. I’ve got to be honest, I’m exploiting his puppy good looks to enter this year’s Pets on Quilts in the dog/puppy on quilt category. I have a history of entering this competition, in 2012 I entered my dog quilt, also Fletcher entered the competition (I miss that boy) and also Sullivan the Hedgehog gave it a go (and won a prize)!

Hank is an English Pointer puppy with boyish good looks, a short attention span and very few expressions. He’s a bit wild, he likes to try and sit on my knee when I sew but he’s now 20kg so I really don’t think he will manage that again! He loves sitting on quilts, so this was an easy shoot to arrange; he sleeps on my giant churn dash quilt a lot of the time.

Some outtakes, because I can!

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I’ll give you a shout when voting goes up, cheers! Click here to go see who else is in the linky party….


Do the kids still say that? Anyway big news…. I am representing the UK in Sewvivor, I got in to the final 16! Some of the competitors are relatively well known, including Amanda of Westwood Acres, plus some contestants are lesser known but have mad quilting skills so I’m feeling a teensy bit intimidated, but I can do this! Grrr!

Challenge 1 is nautical themed anything – so spoiler alert – knowing where my skills lie and forever wanting to make things that are a bit stupid, I’m making a Billy Bass-esque mini quilt. I’ve started it already, no time like the present! If you’re not sure what Billy Bass is- check this out.

That’s right, I pretty much exclusively use Instagram pics on my blog nowadays

I love this kind of project because I can still make progress in front of the TV. I have loads of ideas for the next few categories as well, and we are to post tutorials and stuff so I am calling out for the UK vote please to back me up on 11th August and help me get through the to next round of 10! Spread the word and I’ll love you forever. Also big thanks to Hannah and Sam who were both refreshing the Family Ever After blog last night to see if I’d got in and notifying me whilst I was laid in a cool bath in agony last night…

That agony was unfitness related. Netball went well yesterday, people were nice and amazingly I matched the skill level (except I dropped the ball maybe a tad more due to losing visibility through blood pressure madness and I fell over twice in over-excitement, naturally) I am concious of every single muscle in my legs today though and I proved to be seriously unfit (I was purple in the face for hours afterwards) so I’m going to do the couch to 5k thing to increase my general fitness that loads of other sew-ers are doing with the hashtag sweatandsew. I’m thinking of starting tonight once I get somewhere with wifi- like home for instance- so I can download the app…. I have a feeling running may be too boring for my overactive mind though and may upgrade to the chasing zombies app. Any suggestions for a playlist (other than Eye of the Tiger, obvs…. or maybe I should just play that on loop)?

Serious progress

Friday night I finished quilting and on Saturday, I put the last stitch in the binding of the Christmas project I’ve been working on. This gave me time to play with these for that rainbow quilt on a white background I promised a couple of posts back.

I have almost got the top together for this (no way am I piecing it) just waiting for a small parcel in the post of something so I can stitch it down, get a photo and then quilt it. I went back to the Fabric Guild yesterday and bought the wadding I needed but also a couple of Alison Glass packs of decent size “scraps” which may make it into a bag to go with my Weekender perhaps.I’m sure it will come in handy.

I haven’t been sure about the Cotton + Steel collections that have come out. A lot of the designs are a bit odd in my opinion (such as the lions I think look like sheep), the spotty stripes in the basics are too large scale for my liking but I like the metallic elements and I really like the Moonlit collection other than the fact it has butterflies in it.

Talking about butterflies, one flew in through the living room window on Friday evening and I had a mouth full of drink and temporarily forgot how to swallow as I pointed frantically and MMM MMMM!!-ed loudly at OH as it flew towards me in disgusting flappy slow motion. It went up the stairs and promptly disappeared. We think it may have gone out of the spare room window but I think that is way too clever and it’s possible it’s lurking somewhere waiting to land its fuzzy disgusting body on my head…

Anyway I digress…

I won a Mustang layer cake very recently and have actually cut up eight of the pieces to start on a cushion. I’m about 1/4 of the way there and that’s just before work this morning! Hope to finish it this week but of course it all depends on the Sew-vivor results that will be out today *baited breath*.

I am so nervous; tonight I’m going to a “Back to Netball” class, hopefully they’re not on week 9 of 10 and I won’t be turned away. When I’ve joined sports clubs in this area before they tend to have been cliquey with a certain level of skill needed to fit in (except Fencing, that was very beginner friendly). This is a coached class for people just like me that used to play at school and have probably forgotten half of the rules. I wanted to take up squash but the way it’s run in my local area is very elitist and I didn’t want a private coach, I just want to get fit and have fun while doing it. I’ve sent an email this morning but essentially I am just going to turn up with my PE kit and hope a bunch of strangers let me play with them and don’t mock me too much. Scary!

**EDIT** The guy that’s organising it has emailed back and has put my mind at ease a bit. Here’s the info for the one I’m going to, but if you are thinking of looking for a similar class yourself, they are all over the place nationally on different days at different times, see the England Netball site or search for Back to Netball.