Back doing what I love best

All my sewing commitments are done- unless you count #dogmini2015 which I’m not starting for a month yet- something that hasn’t happened in maybe over a year! I have made stuff for magazines and am now kind of backlogged (erm, four projects, three articles…) so I can kick back and play for a while. OH is at work this weekend so I have the house to myself and other than a bit of cleaning and computer work, no distractions, dogs permitting.


I decided I needed to declutter. I actually enjoy tidying my sewing room, I find it very comforting to sew in a tidy environment though I’m not a very tidy person usually, and the process itself as a means to reach nirvana is always worthwhile. Plus I get to look at pretty fabric while I tidy! However, I also need to start getting on top of exactly what I have in this room in anticipation for moving. It’s this reason I’m on sort-of a fabric diet (read that as there are three fabrics I really want right now but I will have to clear out some of my stash before I allow myself to buy any of them). So much so I’ve run out of black and white solids- unheard of. I’m working around it.


Anyway, a binbag later and it looks like this! The design wall is lint rollered, the fabric is pressed and put away, the bin is empty, it’s a harmonious place to sew now. I’ve cleared out the drawers too but you can’t obviously tell…


Not that it was really bad before…

Anyway I’ve looked at my bulging carrier bag of string scraps again and I don’t really want to be taking that with me either so frankly, it’s time I made some more log cabin blocks, even if they don’t become a top yet, just to get them out of the way. I’m going to aim to make two at a time, once a week in order to reach my target of 49.


So far I have nine- these are the three new ones. But I have also separated out the white/LV/cream contract strips as so much time was being wasted digging around for those when the actual selection is random and organic. The carrier bag has been changed to something a little more attractive and the white strips are located in the same box, just not in the bag.


I am now multi-projecting. I love doing this too. Along with the log cabins I now have Hadley Doughnuts going on, plus my new pattern is making progress.

I have a shirt to start soon too, the fabric is washed and ironed so it may be cutting time before too long!


I did a tiny bit of cutting from my Best Day Ever bundle last night for a new quilt. I love this part.

This will be the centre of a new quilt design I plan to sell the pattern for independently. I’ve designed two quilts that aim to be challenging and incorporate Y-seams, paper piecing or template piecing along with standard shapes and techniques to give your skills a bit of a workout. For now though, I need to workout my own skills to test the pattern and also create a finished piece for the pattern cover!

It could be a while. I plan to intersperse this project with working on one of my WIPs too so that they don’t languish too long. I’m thinking Hadley doughnuts is next! I’d go with the Left A Lone Star one but I don’t like to alternate piecing and quilting on my machine, I tend to quilt and only quilt until it is finished (clearly this quilt is the exception to the rule).

There’s only one day left to vote in the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. I would really appreciate a vote for Frankly, Hank (the big dog face quilt) in the Art quilt or the Viewer’s Choice category if you think he stands out as one of your top three quilts in the running!

Holy Cow!

Hank, Frankly is on the shortlist for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival! I am so so excited, please go vote for me!


Thank you to the person (people?) who nominated me!
He’s also in the Art Quilt category if you fancy giving me one of your clicks there too, you can vote for three in each, so definitely have a flick through this weekend and see what else is going on :)

Stuff from market

I didn’t go to Quilt Market, however I lived and breathed it through Instagram many times a day over the weekend. For me these are the highlights and the must haves!

Of the Cotton + Steel collections, I think Melody Miller’s Picnic Play is my favourite. I like the plastic flower print and the apples.

Links back to Fat Quarter Shop preorder

But I also like the bowling scoresheet one by Kim Kight. Little piece of my history right there.

Links through to Pink Castle Fabrics

Pink Castle Fabrics Brenda’s Pie Making Day line intrigues me…

Links to Pink Castle Fabrics too

Zen Chic has two (three?) new Moda lines, my favourite being Ink

Preorder available at ModernQuilter on Etsy

Erin Michael has some more paint by numbers in a range called Purebred. I’m not sure if I actually want any of these or not though… maybe just the main print?

Link to Fat Quarter Shop

Elizabeth Olwen Floratopia Corduroy from Cloud9- a skirt from this please!

And Cosmo have some bear prints…

Image from @fabricworm on IG

More bears from Lewis and Irene coming in September with a range I NEED called Big Bear, Little Bear!

Oh and most importantly of all to me are more Charley Harper prints coming this Winter from Birch in a range called Maritime, including these!

Check this out…

Sam (Handmade by Mrs H) has a great selection of bag patterns, and the latest is a collaboration with yours truly!

The Sunburst Clutch features a scalloped, paper piece flap design, and the cover bag has an (optional!) gold pleather body which gives it a bit of a 70s Disco feel.

If you’ve never made a bag before but enjoy paper piecing, then this is a perfect introduction for you. Equally it’s a small challenge for anyone new to paper piecing without being overtaxing.

Buy your copy (and check out Sam’s other bag patterns) here! Or if you can’t see it there yet, try Etsy!


My design at Quilt Market!

Let me tell you a story…

I designed a block earlier in the year which won me first prize in the EQ7 competition in February using BasicGrey’s Fresh Cut line. Totally unexpected and amazing as there were some really good entries. As a result I won a stash download pack and a great book from Electric Quilt, plus a fat quarter bundle, jelly roll and charm pack from Moda of the line itself. This was brilliant as it meant I could cancel my preorder of the line because as I had said the month before, I was on a bit of a fabric diet and only was going to allow myself to buy Fresh Cut because I adore everything BasicGrey do and it was “non-negotiable”.

Original block...

Original block…

Now this led to something even more exciting. The two judges were Rachel and Allison from BasicGrey. A week or so later after I received my prizes, I received a surprise email from Allison to ask if I would be interested in selling them the same pattern, digitally creating a quilt layout, but updated with their next line of fabrics for Moda, Mon Ami, plus write the instructions to make it up. After carefully negotiating that I would indeed get my fix of fabric (essential!) as part payment and doing a little dance whilst cooking bolognese, I said yes please!

After a bit of emailing and such, the design was changed for a different block…


This pattern was named Flower Mill and was sewn up and pattern tested by the very patient Allison into this fabulous quilt (she found several errors with the frustrating half rectangle triangle bit, but we fixed them!). There is a sneak peek of it being assembled in this blog post

Here it is, Allison’s finished quilt displayed and the main feature of their section of the Moda stand at International Quilt Market (shamelessly pinched from the Moda Cutting Table blog)

Hasn’t she done an amazing job?! I was so giddy when I saw this go online.

Soon it will be printed ready to be bought by real life quilty peeps, and of course digitally from retailers such as Fat Quarter Shop (I think? Don’t quote me on that but they do have previous patterns on there). HOW EXCITING! And it popped up on Instagram a bit too!

From @pinkdoorfabrics

From @yaya_and_me

Not that I am any more biased than I used to be (which was sufficiently- previous ranges I’ve used are Max and Whiskers, Curio, a half-arsed WIP from Hello Luscious, PB&J, 25th and Pine, Persimmon plus current plans for Fresh Cut) but Mon Ami still has that vintagey feel and is so fun! I guess I should actually make my own version of this, maybe minus borders (or maybe not)?

I’ll share a picture of all the prints soon, I’ve not found one online yet but when I do, I’ll put it all up here, unless my bundle turns up for me to photograph sooner of course! For now, here are some of the prints…

From @abbeylanequilts

UPDATE! More images can now be found on BasicGrey’s blog!

Another Finish: Hank, Frankly


So I actually just finished this, the big reveal is just in time for The Bloggers’ Quilt Festival! I was hoping to finish this for the day it started which was Friday, but you know how it is with life, grumpy sewing machines and such….

There’s something about curling up on the sofa with a glue pen and scissors that becomes addictive, and I can’t stop until the project is finished. This was “pieced” in three to four days, that’s with going to bed at normal time, going to work and such. I used three glue pen refills in total.


If you are new via the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, you won’t be familiar with Hank, so here is my muse…

Originally the right eye looked a bit weird, but when I swapped out the eyelashes for a darker piece, it seemed more cohesive.

It (he?) was then basted and the quilting with monofilament was the first time it saw needle and thread.

As regular visitors will know, I was supposed to submit it for the Fine Art Quilt Masters category at Festival of Quilts as a half-joke, but as I had suspected, I just couldn’t find the time to get the quilting and edge finishing completed for the 1st May deadline which was in place as it’s a juried category. It was then going to be finished earlier in the month but a couple of other things came up (workshop planning, magazine stuff) and my machine had a temper tantrum during the quilting resulting in broken needles and awful tension despite it liking the monofilament I was using the previous time I sat down to work on it. Deep clean, rewound bobbin, new needle, rethread, bobbin tension adjustment… No harm has been done though, it’s now finally finished and I will still be entering it into the (non-juried) Pictorial category at Festival.

OH is asking me where it’s going to be kept…. good question.

Size – 40″ x 41″ at widest points
Number of blocks – n/a
Time to make– about nine hours, I think no, more like 12!
Fabric – Some stash, some scraps but mostly half yards of new very dark blenders I picked up at Fabric Guild
Backing Fabric – Ikea extra cheap duvet cover cut in half.
Binding Fabric – Bias tape binding pulled all the way into the back in black.
Threads – Superior Threads monofilament in clear on the white, light grey and cream bits and Sulky monofilament in smoke on everything else
Batting – 80/20 Soft and Elegant
Quilting- Very free, texture like stitches whilst making sure all of the edges are secure. Basically from experience, the sort of quilting that quilt show judges hate!


Linking up to Amy in the Art Quilt category:

And it’s also a finish along finish!

Right, now I’ve indulged myself with actually finishing a quilt, I am going to work hard at another after work project. I’ve been employed to create a 120 page book layout with tabs and stuff, so I’m trying to get it all done and signed off before my holiday at the end of next month. I think sewing time may be limited for a short while!

A Finish – Round Trip Dress

I finished this dress from my list of many garments a week or so ago, but can show you it now as it’s the second day of Quilt Market, and the fabric it is made from will have been seen by buyers yesterday on the BasicGrey booth as part of the Moda showcase, so I’m not giving an exclusive.

This is a print from Mon Ami by BasicGrey. I got yardage in a package I went to UPS to collect a few weeks ago. There are bicycles and tulips and blenders and text and all sorts going on in this range. It’s quite autumnal or late summer in colour with a couple of blues, yellow, red and quite a dark green, as well as grey and white. To me it reminds me more of The Netherlands or Denmark, but I think it may be more of a Parisian inspired thing given the name. Anyway enough of this. More me-news on this line very soon…

This pattern was so easy to follow, didn’t have too many pieces and was pretty quick to sew up too. It wasn’t laborious in the slightest, which is a new feeling for me when it comes to dress making. I may be starting to like it! The only thing I still dislike doing is understitching, but the neckline really needed it.

It has little capped sleeves and deep pockets…


The front detail was tricky with the tiny fiddly button loop to turn right side out and the bottom of the slit wanting to pucker…

I found long lace zips at the Quilt and Stitch Village show and decided upon a feature exposed zip at the back rather than an invisible one, also I was too impatient to wait for an invisible one… I’m not sure this was my best decision ever.

I had to improvise at the top and bottom to keep it neat. I think it worked. I stupidly forgot to prewash the fabric though so it will be on a very gentle cool wash initially with my woollens.

The pattern goes by a couple of names and it has a sleeveless version with a collar too. It’s the Lisette Round Trip Dress, or Simplicity 1419, by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S. I made size 12 with smaller seam allowances in the bust areas to make it closer to a 14 up top. I purchased my copy from Minerva Crafts.

Come pixel with me?

This week I finished up a class sample…

And on Saturday 6th June I will be teaching pixel quilting using this block as the example project which finishes at a nice size to make into a cushion or a mini quilt. Even though there are 361 squares, there are only 71 seams to sew.

Intrigued? Places are still available at Hannah’s Room, Coalville, but they’re closed until after the Malvern show. Maybe give them a ring on Monday? 01530 588890 … at the minute it says it’s my glue stick applique class on the website but that’s an error, though we are looking at doing another of those in August.

Now I’m cutting up for another mini…

…though I won’t get time to sew tonight. I’m choosing cutting over quilting my Hank face quilt- I sewed over a safety pin and exploded a needle last night and since then the tension has been awful and another needle broke unprovoked so I am worried I’ve bent the shaft or something. I’m procrastinating looking at the thing until I’m feeling more patient.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of my big scrap bundle is…

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.02.51 Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.03.05

Congratulations to Jessica, I’ll be in touch for your address soon.