Sewing every spare second

Over the weekend I continued where I left off on the last post.

I decided to put my yellow dress together first. I got quite far…

And then got angry, frustrated and sweary. I tore the zip out at least three times trying to get it to sit right. I find sewing pattern instructions are really vague about this part. So I made it up myself which worked after unpicking the top section and making it fold over more at least three more times, that was until I put the dress on and because it was a little tighter than it perhaps should be, my fold unfolded and it became an exposed zip. I have hand sewn in a lining too so it won’t be an easy one to adjust so I think I will fix it with some topstitching. Not ideal. If I could find somewhere locally or online that sold 22″ invisible zips, I’d be tempted to buy one and take to my one day sewing retreat on Sunday, but so far, no luck.

Then the armhole facing bagged out. I think it probably stretched as I sewed it in and that looks horrendous. I only did one sleeve, and it looks like that will be fixed with topstitching too.

So I was a bit put off, and decided I needed to sew something else before I fell out with all forms of sewing entirely. I cut out parts for my Sesquicentennial quilt (including the panels which apparently are printed not square and vary slightly in seam allowance, wtf?) until I found that I posted my only piece of black solid with some others for book photography.I went and bought more solids on Sunday, but for the meantime, it got folded up and put to one side for when I want to make the maple leaf blocks. This will be a really quick quilt when I get going.

Yeah really, he wouldn’t move.

Then I decided to sew together Thumbtacks. Which turned out to be more complicated than I thought as there are no extra seam allowances on the triangles since it was stack and whack. I found a fix through trimming, and it worked well, so I sewed all 36 blocks together!

It’s smaller than I wanted it to be by about 12 inches each direction, so I am going to add some ivory borders with a pop of another Rifle Paper Co print between them. I think that will work nicely!

Loving it

I shipped off the last requirements for my book today, and emailed over all of the images and second draft copy yesterday. Whilst I have enjoyed the process and would do it all over again, its so liberating to be working on a completely different style again. I treated myself to start a new project with Rifle Paper Co fabrics.

A post shared by Kerry F (@pennydog) on

I also finished the last of the bee words that I was several months overdue on, so another relief!

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I have lots of sewing plans for the weekend, I’m sure I will be back blogging all the more! Tomorrow, I’m coming for you, yellow dress! I also want to relook at my sesquicentennial quilt design for Canada’s 150th birthday. If it’s quick, I can see myself making a quilt in a day!

In other news, I have a new laptop because my old one was making popping and clicking noises, so it was only a matter of time before hard drive failure, so I’m installing stuff and moving files and other boring stuff. I also tried axe throwing for the first time on Wednesday night and LOVED it. I was pretty good too and beat my coach 😉

Kerry throws an axe

Maybe I will blog again tomorrow! We will see.

Classes with me

I’m going to try out teaching. I’m gradually getting a bit more assertive and confident so I reckon it is worth a shot. I used to get so embarrassed at public speaking right up to only a couple of months ago so it will be good for me. These classes are up to 8 people, so totally doable and it means I’ll be able to work with everyone individually too.

Here are my classes, held at My Sewing Room, Calgary. Give them a call if you want to book! The list of requirements for each class are also downloadable from their website.

EPP Cushion

Learn a relaxing – and historical – hand piecing technique, English Paper Piecing (EPP)! Use up your scraps and learn three different basting methods to make traditional paper hexagons wrapped with fabric, then stitch together as many as you want! This class will give you the opportunity to slow down your stitching and try the way a lot of our great-grandmothers made quilts. It’s also a great way to tackle difficult shapes and conquer Y-seams!

Bonus instructions on creating a small cushion will be provided for when you’ve made enough hexies.

Price: $35

Dates: February 22nd 6-9pm, April 2nd 1-4pm, May 2nd 6-9pm

QAYG Venti Tote

Use up your scraps and try relaxed piecing with this improvisational technique and make a fantastic storage tote! Using the pattern as a starting point, you will learn the piecing method and quilt it as you add each fabric piece. You will also learn to make your own bias tape and some bonus techniques to make following the pattern easier. Using your leftover scraps, you will make a bag which reflects your unique style.

Price: $65

Dates: March 7th and 14th 6-9pm, April 13th and 20th 6-9pm

P.S. Anyone know of quilt shows in Canada- particularly Western Canada – except for the Festival of Quilts in Calgary? I could really do with a show to challenge me over the next few months without posting quilts over to the UK!

Share the space

I’ve given up a wardrobe so Alex can paint- until we get a house of our own with more room. In Ikea, We chanced upon the exact same desk in the clearance corner that we were going to buy flatpacked, plus 25% off so that was a good find. The door can just be closed and all of the stuff is hidden away…

I still think he needs a chair, but he says he will share mine…

The Finish Along is back – Q1 2017

I’m not expecting to get many WIPs finished this quarter, but as usual, I’m going to give it a go, and suggest three things that could possibly get done, or at least develop a bit further!

This dress still hasn’t got any further since last quarter, it’s time I got that done.

Another no-changer – these Blanche bags. I only want to finish these two for now.

And yep, you guessed it, another I haven’t touched for three months. This was the first project I started when we moved and I was sewing on my first machine in friends’ basement before we got a place of our own! I have no real purpose for this quilt, but maybe it will be big enough to fit our bed when finished? I really should check that.

***My blog was half-down for almost a week, looks like it got upset by someone touching things they shouldn’t and my template disappeared and it went all gross looking, so I missed the actual link up, I’m only unofficially taking part this quarter ***

Selvedge Salvage

Today I learned that what I call a selvedge is the British spelling of selvage. I wondered why I had seen it written in two different forms.

I’ve collected selvedges for a while now, maybe a couple of years. When I was in the UK I’d pass them to Di in our EMMQG meetings, but since coming over the Canada a year and two days ago(!) I’ve saved them in a jar and thought that maybe I would do something with them.

Now, I have nowhere near a project’s worth, but I needed to start doing something with them as they’d outgrown the jar. So I decided they would be good as a simple cushion, mixed in with some scrap strings because I have a schwack of those too.

So I’ve made four 3 1/2″ blocks, they were very quick and it keeps me interested as I simultaneously work on catching up with bee blocks. If I’m completely honest, I am not enjoying putting bee blocks together anymore, and I think that is why it has been easy to put other projects first. The guilt is getting to me in a big way now though, so I need to get my head down and get them done!

My jar still only just closes, and I threw out about 1/3 of what was in the jar as there was lots of plain white bits I didn’t need! Weird how that works.

And now, back onto finishing up book stuff and clothing repairs, it will be good when those and the bee blocks are over, too much obligation on my plate. Sewing is meant to be fun, right?


It’s so frustrating that I can’t share pretty much all the projects I’ve worked on over the last six months or more! I only have six quilts to show for 2016 on the Finished page, and that’s entirely untrue. There’s four more (if you include a three piece quilt) I’ve not been able to show. I thought I’d show some really sneaky super close ups of two of the projects I’ve had to remake. I like them better than the originals (maybe I can share pictures of those soon?!) so that’s got to mean that it will be an improvement. I’m in the quilting stage. I still have two quilts to make and a couple to edit too, maybe a smaller project to make. I really want to be done with it by the end of January if possible. I’ve done the step outs though so the boring stuff  -which shows binding step by step for instance – is all shipped off. I have a new editor too – I really liked the previous lady I worked with, but I’m yet to “meet” her and I’m sure she’s just as great.

I’m starting to think the quilting is my favourite part, especially on smaller quilts and projects.

In other news I finally finished a set of bee words. These were supposed to be for September! Two or three pieced ones to go now.

I’ve also started on a QAYG project sample for a class I hope to teach next year. I need to finish this up quickly too so I have a sample. I’ve pitched two classes, both completely unrelated to my book. That will be refreshing for me as well as gently introducing me to the world of teaching and finding my approach, since I will be expected to teach and travel a bit to promote my book. Last time I did any teaching work was to 13 and 14 year olds making resin jewellery as a guest teacher at a school and they were throwing chairs at each other… That was a few years ago now and I’m pretty sure the adult teaching experience is much better.

When all of these commitments are done I am really looking forward to doing something mindless and unnecessary, like scrappy log cabins, but in reality I know I’ll be back on the magazine stuff as before, bills gotta be paid. I am not doing Project 48 this time around, or any bees. I need to have a relatively commitment free year in 2017; 2016 has been hard with a move to a new country, work, writing a book, being mentally exhausted by the state of the world, etc. I’d like to clear some of my non-essential WIPs too just to tidy the cupboard a bit.

My goals are:

This weekend: Finish piecing book quilt, bee block and signature block, finish QAYG on class project.
January: Finish any bee words outstanding and most of the book stuff, do at least two clothing repairs/alterations (see last post)
February: Finish book stuff once and for all if not done already, then do a happy dance and high five myself very hard. Release a new PDF pattern. Work on a new Hank quilt. Try and finish the dachshund dress.
March-April: Finish Hank Quilt. Gently work on at least one magazine project. Design quilt with my bee word blocks.
May-June: Work on the second Quilt Workout pattern since I dropped the ball. Release a new PDF pattern. Magazine project. I’m away some of June back in the UK for my sister’s wedding.
July-August: Finish Quilt Workout pattern and release it. Do a fist pump dance. Magazine Project.

And I’m making no more plans past that just yet! I would like to produce some of my patterns on paper in 2017 too, and try and get in with a distributor, maybe towards the end of the year when I have a better portfolio. I think the key will be having diversity in my WIPs already to keep me interested and not starting anything new unless it is for an intended deadline, so I don’t add to the stack.

I also bought some fabric, because, you know, fabric. Some sale orange/rusts to prop up the stash from Fabric Spark, and some Euclid linen and Modern Backgrounds from My Sewing Room. I bought some more from Fat Quarter Shop this week and I have plans to buy a bundle of Saturday Morning too while it’s still available at Green Fairy, I just have to get the money together for it.


Linking up:
2017 Planning Party

Happy New Year!

A whole crapola of repairs

You know when you’re doing fun stuff and the boring stuff keeps piling up and piling up… (like vaccuuming, putting laundry away, etc)?

Well, I probably have a full weekend of clothing repairs and adjustments to do now. I would LOVE to get this cleared by New Year for a fresh start but that gives me 10 days. Nope.

A pair of jeans for my husband which needs a torn crotch stitching up as best as possible, half a dress, a shirt that needs the shoulders slimming (so many adjustments have been made to this shirt already to make it small enough!), a pair of jeans two inches too long, a pair of work trousers an inch and a half too long, a coat with a torn armpit accessible only by undoing the lining plus it has a toggle missing, a dress that needs hemming 1″ higher and another that needs a hook and eye fastener added and a zip reinserted…

I hand sewed my XL Christmas-ish vintage jumper in about 2″ at each side seam by hand yesterday morning. We’re having a Christmas jumper day at work today (though no one else seems to have bothered) so this is good enough. I added sequins to the trees last night in front of a couple of episodes of Mr Selfridge.

On an expected note, I didn’t get any quilts accepted to Quiltcon which is no great surprise. I’m torn between making something specifically for Quiltcon in 2018, or whether I should just keep making what I like and maybe entering things if they possibly fit the remit. I do have one gripe (that’s unlike me) about Quiltcon. I feel the quilts that get accepted are very unlikely to be used. I’m pretty sure the definition of a modern quilt by the MQG includes a statement about it being a utilitarian quilt “designed to be used”, which is at odds with art quilts. Though that’s what a lot of these feel like to me. I don’t know.

P.S. it’s my birthday tomorrow!

A finish: Ornament

Urgghhh Instagram is being such a pain! It keeps crashing when I try to upload and it’s been like this for a week. I’ve reinstalled the app and restarted the phone so many times! And no reply from Instagram tech help.

Anyway… This quilt was made around the same time as S is for Snake and sent off to be in Quilt Now at the same time. It was in issue 29 and I was so slow sharing it that it’s now a back issue- sorry…

It’s simple applique really- I drew a shape, scanned it into the Scan N Cut and then cut out the shape from a few fat quarters that I had fused webbing onto. I used different webbings to try them out and some were better than others. The rubbery ones tended to crinkle weirdly in the wash. I recommend the ones that feel less rubbery, like Wonder Under, Soft Fuse, etc.

The background is a checkerboard effect of plain and gold spots and then the shapes were fused onto the squares and satin stitched with some bold black thread. This was done on my little Walmart cheapy machine I showed you earlier, and I think it fared well seeing as it had so many to do.

Photography of the quilt on the Quilt Now website.

Photography of the quilt on the Quilt Now website.

Size – 45″ x 54″ I think (from memory)!
Number of blocks – 81 actual rectangles, but 35 applique blocks.
Time to make – About 8 hours with the quilting
Fabric – Kona Snow and a Robert Kaufman gold spot for the background. Ornaments themselves are Millie Fleur by Bari J for Art Gallery Fabrics.
Backing Fabric – A double wide remnant – a muslin print of some description
Binding Fabric – Pure Elements in Watermelon (I think) – Art Gallery Fabrics
Threads – Piecing and satin stitch with Aurifil 50 wt. Quilting with a varigated Isacord.
Batting – 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom.
Quilting- Stitch in the ditch with echo quilting. The shape was made into a stencil and the quilting was added in the same design to the rectangles that didn’t have the applique too.

Submitting to Quiltcon

At the very last minute I submitted some quilts for Quiltcon 2017. I was a recipient of a Michael Miller challenge bundle, so I was obliged to get my act together and send it in. I finished it on the weekend and then forgot the bit where you take photos…. When I got to the form, it said it was $30USD for up to three entries. I didn’t see the point in just sending on one (especially since it’s not my most favourite work) so I sent in three.

I got very angry at one point. I had filled out all the details, measured the quilts, etc and then left my computer to go to work and then take photos of the newest quilt. By the time I came back I had to start all. over. again. With insanely slow WiFi. There’s no save option, be warned! Have all your photos ready and information to hand before you start!


Here is my Luxe challenge piece for the Michael Miller category, it’s called Sound and Vision. My inspiration was the fabric itself and then somehow that progressed to light and sound waves. I took a bit of creative license when it came to the quilting, the light is bending in totally unnatural ways 😀 It’s small, at just 36″ square and is made from the two grey Luxe fabrics I received, plus yellow and teal Michael Miller solids. I did not have fun quilting this, the walking foot always applyies too much pressure and it wants to wrinkle the fabric constantly, even with the presser foot pressure reduced right down. Also the way the guide attaches to the machine means I can’t actually use it along with the walking foot without too many attachments on one screw and it all falling apart. Next time- normal foot straight line quilting with the guide!


FAL 2016

This is also a Finish Along Finish, and the last I expect I will do this quarter.

My next submissions are not really in the Quiltcon design vein so I’m not expecting much in terms of acceptance (on any of the three to be fair). I sent in Chandelier for Modern Traditionalism or whatever it is called…

… and also Shine Bright in the Piecing category.

We will see what happens!