What I’m doing right now…

Just keep quilting….
Straight lines are so boring to quilt. Looking forward to crossing something else off my list though.

I allowed myself some time yesterday evening to cut out the pieces for my next couple of mini quilts that I will sew simultaneously, with one for the UK mini swap. Some times I find straight line quilting, especially on a quilt this size (72″ x 96″) hard going so it’s good to have something else I can switch to to rest my shoulders.

Now that I’m about a third of the way through, I find the draw of finishing this more motivating than when I start to quilt, which is when I will find just about anything else to do instead. Hopefully there will be a finish this week.

A finish: Pancakes quilt

If you think I’ve not been posting much lately, it’s because I’ve been busy! I took Friday off work to give some serious hours this weekend to my two simultaneous quilt projects going on and I finished one of them! This is Pancakes (though you’ve possibly seen me overgram the stages on Instagram)…!


I am over my curve phobia! That’s one of my five 2015 goals sorted, nearly two in one actually.


I pieced blocks and then cut them into curves and pieced again. It’s going into the Quilt and Stitch Village show as one of my three entries (two down, one to go), but there are some badly matched seams, etc…


But I think the brilliant mitres on the binding make up for that, most definitely. These are the best corners I have ever done. This could spell the end for my preferred faced edges now I know I can do it…

DSCF8863 DSCF8867

The quilting was marked on with washable felt tips again and then I washed and dried it last night after putting the last stitches in the binding and adding a label that my machine was reluctant to stitch out (and even after four attempts still looks pants).


Just got a sleeve to add, but it’s most definitely a finish at this stage, oh yes, this counts.


Thanks to OH for being my strategic rock positioning person ;)

Size – 54” wide x 66″ long
Number of blocks – 20
Time to make– about 22 hours
Fabric – Priory Square by Katy Jones and Kona Papaya and a Makower Spectrum dark grey, plus Art Gallery solid border in whatever they call the co-ordinating pink to Priory Square.
Backing Fabric – Feathered Friends by Wendy Slotboom at £2 a yard from Fabric Guild plus an odd bit of Amy Butler I wanted rid of anyway to make up the deficit.
Binding Fabric – Ann Kelle metallic grid print.
Threads – Pieced with Coats Moon, quilted with grey Moon for the motifs, King Tut Variegated in the stippling and stitch in the ditch, and a fuchsia Mettler thread I received in a swap that was perfect for the border. The bobbin had a standard Coats blue cotton in it throughout.
Batting – 80/20 Soft and Elegant
Quilting- Walking foot criss cross borders and stitch in the ditch, stippling in the papaya backed blocks and homemade template motifs in the circles. About 8 hours worth of quilting and bobbin winding….


English Country Garden BOM – Block 12 – Clematis

I’m so sorry I’m running late – again – I feel like I’m treading water a bit rather than making progress and I have my fingers in more pies than I actually have fingers ;) Thank you for your patience.

This is the last block!!!

This pattern is free to download from Craftsy until the next blog post (maybe a tad later) which is due 6th April where I will go through assembling these blocks into a top with cute borders, etc right here on this blog. Previous templates are available if you missed out, see the bottom of this post or email me for details. I am also now starting to compile all of the patterns to be available in bulk and this will be on sale with the top finishing instructions sometime next month.

BOMclematiscover Click here to download

This pattern includes the same instructions for applique as before, and the same instructions as the Dahlia block for the background, but with new templates for the clematis. The instructions are: making bias tape, turned edge and raw edge machine applique, piecing the inset circle background, thread choices and the pattern in standard and mirrored formats depending on which type of applique you opt for.

I’m on the end of an e-mail if you get stuck, just leave a comment here 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!

You can get all of the previous blocks from any of these three locations at a price of $2 each.
and Patterns to Print

The free pattern will continue to be available through Craftsy initially but is removed after the free period is over since they’re unable to support the new daft EU VAT rules.

Tutorial : How to make your own quilting templates

Make your own quilting template

Please note this tutorial calls for a bit of computer design knowhow (or software at least) in order to draw a design and print it to the size you want it, but I’ll briefly go over a couple of options! You could also draw your design with pencil and paper if you wish.

I decided the pancake quilt deserved a little more than an unprecise thrashing with my usual FMQ fallback patterns, but equally I’m a bit too cheap to buy loads of quilting stencils in different sizes, so I had to make my own template!

A computer and printer, or a design already on paper at the right size
A permanent marker
Template plastic
X-Acto knife
Old (or useless metric!) cutting mat

First off you will need to design your quilt pattern. You could do what I did and choose one in Electric Quilt and size it to the size of the block….
Or you can create a drawing in Illustrator or suchlike. As long as it’s just a line, and preferably just the one continuous line then it’s a possible quilt pattern.

Print it out actual size.

Lay your template plastic over the top of the design and trace it with your permanent marker.

Take away your paper and set the template plastic over your cutting mat. Don’t cut it out just yet! Take note of where the line crosses and ensure you leave a gap between lines that cross so that all parts of your template- such as the centre of loops – remain intact!

Get cutting! Make sure your blade is sharp and take care of where your free hand is, and other safety disclaimers- make sure small children and excitable puppies aren’t around, for example. Cut in small tiny strokes around curves and on straight bits, use a metal rule if you have one and try and keep the cuts as long as possible.

Cut a line parallel to your first and join the two cuts at the ends to create a channel that has been removed. Continue around the stencil to complete it.

Now you can mark your quilt through your stencil using your preferred medium- air erasable or washable marker, Frixion pen if that’s your bag, or chalk. Sew along the marked line when quilting and join up where the gaps are with your stitches!


If you don’t want to use plastic, knives and markers, another way to do it would be to print out your design on paper, over lay it on your quilt, and use small stitches to quilt through the paper, tearing it away when finished. Three negatives to this technique – It puts stress on the quilt stitches when removing the paper, it uses quite a bit of paper and you can’t get the placement just so like you can with clear template plastic. Still, this may be a better option for you- if you try either of these methods, please let me know how you got on!

Classes with me, and some narcissistic housekeeping

A few updates for those who are interested…

I will be running two classes at Hannah’s Room in Coalville in late spring, early summer time, the details are below. I’ve yet to devise the designs for these classes to work on as a group and also the requirements but it’s on my never ending stuff-to-do list. I’m thinking a landscape for the glue stick and a flower for the pixels? I will provide a guide on how to create your own pattern at each class too so you’re not limited by the one design. Please contact Roxana at Hannah’s Room if you would like to attend either of these.

Glue Stick Applique
Create your own picture using glue sticks, freezer paper and turned edges, just like the moose quilt (above), or the bear quilt. Class best suited to blender/solid/batik fabrics.
Saturday 9th May  10am – 1pm  £TBA(around £20-25?)

Pixel Imagery
Use a fusible technique for quick and accurate piecing to make up a picture made of 1″ squares. Class best suited to blender/solid/batik fabrics.
Saturday 6th June 10am-1pm £TBA(around £20-25?)

Other news- I have a tutorial on Sewing Directory for a bear Kindle Case
I have another one for a First Aid Pouch being published there in the next week or so.

I also found out from Leanne Paper Moon that I was shortlisted for Best Sewing as an Art (I think) on Madalynne’s blog. That is one popular blog, so thank you to the person that nominated me, this was the shortlist:

Blatantly nicked from Leanne

Blatantly nicked from Leanne

And the winner was seemingly missed out on the main post I think, unless I’m being a bit dim. Still a bit jealous that Leanne was nominated for Funniest Sewing Blog ;)

Currently beavering away on my computer on a very exciting and secret (for now) project, work is quite hectic, plus I’m away this weekend to the land of the big basting floor, so I’ll warn you now, the BOM may be a bit late, but then, what’s new there?

Time for a little octopus…

I’ve only got enough wadding for one quilt at the moment and that will be the pancakes quilt when I baste it on the weekend on the big floor. I’ve therefore put the dress on pause just briefly (while I get over the bit of panic that I am actually making this) before getting some more wadding. I’m thinking I may get something super light, like fusible fleece. Actually yes, does anyone know where I can buy that pretty cheaply by the yard/metre?

 I’ve started another project on my list – the Octo quilt – which as a result meant great fun cutting out 3 1/2″ squares in front of the TV last night, catching up with GB Sewing Bee. These go in the centre of the block and the quilt is going to be for the family in Calgary that we are staying with later in the year. I’ve decided to make a feature out of this fun Cotton+Steel octopus print in a few locations in the quilt, maybe one square per row.

The beginnings of a dress…

Patchwork pieces- blurry pictures- check…

Bodice front

Bodice front

Bodice back pieces

Bodice back pieces

Skirt front

Skirt front

Skirt back pieces

Skirt back pieces

Front pockets

Front pockets

Patch pockets, check…


My dress is (almost) ready for quilting! I’ve got lining fabric coming imminently- it’s fuchsia pink, I thought it might be nice to have something a bit zingy as this dress is hardly going to be shy!

Quilt top finished

The top for Pancakes is all pieced, ready for basting this weekend…


Wait a minute…


My progress for Quilt and Stitch Village is going pretty well, I’ve also got a dress in process too, I’ll show you that tomorrow.


I’ve agreed to go to Hannah’s Room in Coalville this Saturday to talk through some possibilities for teaching there, which is a bit scary. I’ve taught a resin class before and I’ve even done one at a school, but never a sewing class formally.

Picture shamelessly nicked from www.hannahsroom.co.uk

I’m going to take a couple of my applique pictorial quilts and offer to teach that as a technique, but what else do you think I could teach? I’m not great at paper piecing or curves just yet, whilst I can do these things, it’s definitely not my speciality. Is there something obvious I’m missing? How about Patchwork Shortcuts- so how to make four flying geese at once, 4 and 8 HSTs, that kind of thing and then maybe a block or two to make up from the assembled parts? Such as this block from ages ago, but in nicer fabrics?

In personal news the other woman I work with handed her notice in at work yesterday. She’s doing that secret thing that I’m also planning on doing! Yeah I know, that’s MY thing! I was floored- she’s even using the same consultant.  They will have known all along that we work together. What are the chances of the one person I work with in a company of 20 with exactly the same plan? She goes in August, and I’ve revealed my plans to her because I really couldn’t hold it in. My boss took it well that she is going which is a great boost to my confidence but will he take it well a second time?! I have a couple of years yet for him to get over it, I guess.

Pluggy pluggy

I’m not sure if I’ve ever really promoted my own website that much. It is kind of an extension of my blog, but in a portfolio-y way. It looks like this…

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On there I have all the magazines (well, not the jewellery ones from ages ago and the one I used to work on) I’ve had tutorials and articles published in, links to my fabric designs and recently I added a page that shows all my show entries, two more will be appearing on this page over the next month or so!

Go check it out here (www.penny-dog.co.uk)

In other news my instant download pattern shops are nearly fully stocked and will have all my BOM blocks uploaded by the time the weekend is up now I know what I am doing and have a system and such. Sorry it took so long to get to that point.
Patterns to Print!

You know, since I’m blatantly self-promoting and everything,