A Finish: Connecting 4

Sigh. I missed the Finish Along link up again because I’ve been busy at work (this is a good thing but it means I’ve been going to bed earlier), have been teaching and trying to get on top of housework and stuff at home. I also decided today after an incident on Friday where I couldn’t fasten my jacket up, that I need to pay closer attention to my diet, so my Fitbit is back on and I’m actually using the calorie tracker on it. I didn’t know eating too much was so easy. Today I had a Tim’s breakfast which was a bad start, because even after a long dog walk, my lunch- which was a salad- put me in the position of eating more calories than I burned. I blame the 300cal avocado. So with a snack of 13 crisps (yes I counted) plus beef stew for tea with no side bread or rice or dumplings or anything, and no 160cal ice tea today, I’m over my RDA. No more sausage and cheese for breakfast for me!

Anyway I finished a quilt over a week ago but there’s a very long story about trying to get the thing posted for under $140 which I won’t go into. I managed it by the way, so it’s gone over to the UK to hopefully arrive in time to be in July’s Popular Patchwork. This is Connecting 4…

The name is because the block that makes this quilt has four rows of four squares, with four strip pieced corners, which when sewn together makes four rows of four secondary pattern squares.

The quilting and binding took a couple of hours at most, I stippled it to get it done and machined that binding on for quickness.

Here’s some pictures of Hank because I can and I will.

I will have another finish soon too, I’m unstoppable!

Size – 56 1/2″ square
Number of blocks – 25
Time to make – About 10 hours total – chain piecing FTW
Fabric – Half of a Tucker Prairie jelly roll plus some other prints from my stash and Kona White
Backing Fabric – 3m (which was juuuuust enough) of a Garthwaite print by Victoria and Albert that was on sale at My Sewing Room.
Binding Fabric – A petrol blue crosshatch print, which was also the accent print. I got it at Birmingham NEC Festival of Quilts a couple of years ago.
Threads – Piecing with white Wonderfil Konfetti on a cone. Quilting with Isacord in a light blue shade
Batting – 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom.
Quilting- Large stipples, very simple!

This weekend I will be mostly…

This quilt needs finishing in the next 5 days and getting in the post with the Thumbtacks quilt for magazine deadlines. Every weekday I do a little bit more, so maybe it will be a flimsy by the weekend and I can quilt it. I’m thinking of calling it “Connecting Four” – it’s four rows of four squares, with four corner triangles added, plus the secondary pattern makes 4×4 on point squares. It won’t be that big- about 55″ square.

Sunday sees me over at Addie’s in Cochrane. They’re technically closed on a Sunday, but “Carol’s Gang” (which costs $30) is a lock-in without alcohol but with fabric and sewing supplies! I’m not a big fan of lugging a machine around, and my little machine is no fun to sew on when I’ve been using my big metal one heavily because it feels crappy in comparison. I need to get myself some wheeled luggage so I can use the good machine. Anyway, my plan is to start glue piecing this horse, which will be my entry for Festival of Quilts… Before I do that though I need to decide shades and fabrics and make the freezer paper templates. I’m thinking of crazy piecing the larger areas for the first time, just because they’re so big. I’m hoping that won’t look really stupid.

Alex helped me with sticking this together

I also have a request. I’m looking for an 11″ square of each of these fabrics. I’ve found them for sale in the US but I refuse to pay $25 for a FQ to be posted here, that’s just ridiclous and prices me right out! If anyone can help though I can pay or trade or whatever. Thank you!

A Finish : Thumbtacks

… Because the British term “Drawing Pins” doesn’t really work as a title I don’t think! Here it is…

I made it using a semi-stack and whack technique, because I realised that triangles really need the extra seam allowance to piece back together again! This will be for Popular Patchwork in the summer. I’m working on another design too so I can post two at once.

It’s so nice to be able to share a quilt finish this year finally! Here’s the back so hopefully you can see the quilting better. It’s small enough that it was quite easy to do on my machine.

I did a sort of orange peel shape pattern in the narrow border but I don’t think you can see it too well on these pictures. This quilt is shown washed by the way, for full crinkly effect.

Here are some hare tracks on the way to take these photos (just a short walk from our house)… tomorrow a chinook is coming so hopefully we will be starting spring once and for all and all this snow will melt.

Next plan for today is to draw out my design for my Festival of Quilts (Calgary not Birmingham) entry.

Size – 55″ square
Number of blocks – 36 plus borders
Time to make – About 11-12 hours with the quilting
Fabric – Kona Ivory, plus a FQ bundle of Les Fleurs by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton + Steel.
Backing Fabric – 3m of some kind of $9.99/m muslin print
Binding Fabric – A floral print from Nomad by Urban Chiks for Moda
Threads – Piecing with white Wonderfil Konfetti on a cone. Quilting with Isacord in Muslin.
Batting – 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom.
Quilting- Alternating direction freehand straight line stitching across the blocks. Walking foot lines in borders, orange peel leaf shapes in the small blue border.

New pattern available!

I’ve recently published the Pancakes pattern over on Craftsy. If you’re interested, it is $6USD.

This marks the start of me trying to put myself out there more! 🙂

Hank also shares the space

Remember this post where I gave my husband a painting nook in my sewing room? Well now the dog has got involved.

He had been digging in the other cupboard to find a cosy corner to lay in (when it’s not sunny and he’s sprawled in the rays on the floor) so instead of letting him lay on all sorts of stuff, I tidied it out and made him a space, so now both of the boys have their own spot…

I made him a cupboard den #instahank

A post shared by Kerry F (@pennydog) on

I didn’t get a picture sadly, but yesterday morning, he pulled a quilt over him too so he disappeared snugly in the pile and it was so cute, I felt bad telling him sewing room time was over!

It’s a Scraptastic Tuesday!

I made progress on an old WIP I’ve not touched in a year- YEAH!

It’s huge, I ran out of floor space

My scrappy log cabin quilt needed 64 blocks to be completed and I had made 46 of them and stopped, packed up and moved country. So I’ve been making the remaining 18 in the evenings when Alex has been working. I will be giving away my big box of strings at my next guild meeting because I am done with these scraps. I probably had enough to make 64 blocks for the back too…. Seriously these two carrier bags are full of strips left over!

I’m going to quilt this on the longarm and rent some time- it’s 96″ square, or it will be when I have the blocks all sewn together – a little too big for me to be happy basting it and quilting it on my domestic machine. In fact, this will be the largest quilt I have ever made. True story. I want to put easy straight lines in the colour bits and feathers around the white. Straight line plan may change depending on if Bernina have improved their ruler foot. Apparently the rental machine has gone without for a while because the metal gets stressed by bumping rulers over and over and then it literally breaks from stress fractures. There has been a new ruler foot developed in the last few months, so I may be in luck!

I am getting my mojo back. I am working on four or five projects at once but that’s how I like it to be, dipping in and out of a few things each day. It works for me. Today though, its a teaching day.

Linking up:

Scraptastic Tuesday

Oh yeah remember this?

So I had this list at the start of the year…

And things have taken a longer time, with different order and approach, so it looks like this now:

I have however nearly finished a quilt for a magazine (not yet written up) and I don’t think I will make another Hank quilt now, I think I will make a horse quilt for the Stampede quilt show. In addition, I have made progress on two WIPs and done a little towards my summer target of the Quilt Workout pattern. I’ve also started cutting out my late spring magazine project, so things are a lot more fluid. My sister’s wedding is now not happening (this year anyway) so I will be around early summer still. I don’t care about those clothing alterations and my bee words can wait too.

Target for this weekend is to finish up the first magazine quilt and cut out for a second (it’s cheaper to post two at once) and write up a pattern for release. If I get time I may start designing my horse quilt too. Maybe. I have to plan the first half of my class on Tuesday night and maybe make some handouts. They make me feel more comfortable. Did I tell you that my class went well, it was scary at first but I felt like I really passed on some good tips and didn’t forget a thing. I love sewing right now, LOVE it. I don’t have enough time in the day for it.

So sorry by the way, I have a few people to reply to still because my email still won’t send. I am really hoping it will be back to normal any day now.

A Finish – the yellow dress

I find it difficult to be completely satisfied with garment making but I refuse to make a muslin because of the extra time and money; maybe I need to decide which is most important! So this dress is finished, not without issue, though I finally understood how vents work and I learned to make a lapped zip from a video tutorial. I struggled to understand the pattern and bodged the zip twice until I finally looked into it, then got it right straight away! It has been a project where I have learned a lot for future garments, that’s for sure.

Caution: Bad photos taken at night with an iPhone on 3 second delay!

At the very start (and possibly the reason I put it off for so long) I used interfacing that was too heavy for the neckband. I’m hoping it will soften in the wash…. but the crinkly edges really annoy me! I may add some topstitching to try and smooth it out once it’s out of the washer.

The armhole facing was fixed by ripping it out, shortening it and actually reading the instructions properly. With a touch of trimming like it says to do, this actually looks good now. I also adjusted the princess seams a bit because the armholes were a bit gap-y. I think that works.

I probably should have checked before uploading that you couldn’t tell I was wearing socks with tights because my feet were frozen….

Lastly, the body is a bit long, so the zip bulges a little bit, and I only did the usual three measurements, so I hadn’t considered I’d have to shorten the bodice. Not sure what I’m going to do about that yet, maybe I’ll just always wear a cardigan over the top so I don’t have to take the zip out and undo the hand sewing I did on the waistband lining….

So they’re all the flaws but the positives are – I managed a straight hem, I learned about zippers, I now know that my body – which is usually way too long for tops to stop revealing my belly – is actually short on dress patterns and can plan accordingly, the waistband is nice, the hip measurement is good, the fabric is cute!

An unofficial finish along entry!

Mini Tutorial: Starch substitute for 37.5c!

I have a mini tutorial for you today on how to make your own starch substitute – like Best Press or Flatter for a few cents. The credit for this idea shouldn’t go to me though, I was told about this by Jackie who I used to work with, and she in turn was told about it by someone in her quilting guild in Okotoks, so this is passed on wisdom that I am now passing onto you.

My experience with the products you can buy is mixed. Best Press was great when I started using it, but then I tried the scented stuff and my lungs do not cope with it well at all. There are no ingredients on the bottle either so I’ve no idea what it is that is irritating my lungs, a little bit scary. I find the unscented one a bit hard to find because most people seem to prefer that one too! Then Soak’s Flatter – I love the Fig fragrance, but I find it’s pretty expensive stuff so that’s usually off the cards for me. So, onto my tutorial!

I took an existing empty bottle from Best Press, and Sulky Wash and Gone soluble stabiliser. Any soluble stabiliser will do, it has to be the stuff for embroidery that completely washes out.

For this size bottle I only need 5cm across the width of fabric, which is where I get the 37.5c price from as it’s $7.50 a metre where I bought it. If you’re filling a bigger bottle, you will need proportionally more.

Cut into tiny bits and put into the bottle.

Add water, the lid and shake. That’s it!

This was the crinkliest scrap of fabric I could find that I had, so I gave it a squirt and press and it worked awesomely! I checked back the next day and there’s no residue, it works really well.

Let me know if you try it!


P.S. Email still being crappy, I will reply to everyone that posted on my last post once my computer starts letting me send email again!

On blog following

Recently, I have felt a little bit paranoid about not having enough blog followers, comments, etc to fulfill my side of the marketing and publicity once my book is out there in the World, and this is part of my contract, as well as something I feel organically responsible for. My day job is marketing, I should have this tied up.

A simple search shows Maureen Cracknell’s blog – for example – has 63,000 followers on Bloglovin alone. That’s just an insane number and it’s hard not to feel inadequate when your blog has been going for a year and a half longer and has 280.

With Instagram gaining in popularity, and more of the blogs I like to read popping up in my reader less and less as they switch over to micro-blogging, it feel even more like shouting into the void. I used to get double-figure comments, now I’m lucky to get 3. Has my viewing figures got lower, or has interest and engagement dwindled? Is it since moving away from my old circle of sewing friends in the UK? Did they artificially prop me up? Is it because I’ve posted less recently? How long will blogs be relevant for?

And content, what content do people actually want from blogs? I know that I like reading posts about idea development, quilt psychology and politics, recaps of shows I’ve not been able to go to.  Thoughtful and reflective posts, I guess a bit like this one. I know they are the ones I comment on most often. Are a lot of posts out there now just simply blog hops, sew alongs and simple tutorials that have been done 100 times already?  I skip through a lot of posts so I bet you do too.

What do I want to achieve from my blog? I don’t want to post every day with every microscopic detail, if I have nothing to say that day I won’t say anything. I don’t think I want to do weekly giveaways, or be tied to posting about sponsors once a week. I think that content can get dull if it is regimented, even if there is free stuff potentially up for grabs. How do others feel about this? My blog is almost like a diary for me, I look back at what happened when, at how I have developed, and I hope if people are interested enough to do that too then they will see that you can develop as a quilter significantly in just a couple of years (this blog started as a jewellery making blog!), and it will be a positive thing all round.

I’ve made peace with the idea that I’m not going to be one of the big shots, I’m going to stay true to me. I’m going to post what I want and not get bogged down with getting followers from having a huge giveaway, or feel I need a sponsor to be successful. As the Good Life Fitness advert on the radio goes, “Don’t strive to be better than everyone else, best YOURSELF”.


P.S. My email is down at the moment, so if you have contacted me I won’t get it for a little while.