Monday, 13 April 2015


It's that time of the month again folks! The new issue of Quilt Now magazine is now available in UK stores (actually, it was available last Thursday so I'm a bit late). Issue 10 is packed full of bright and cheerful projects to try out. The gorgeous cover quilt is by the talented chappy, Nicholas Ball.
It's lovely to see projects by lots of friends in this issue! Kerry, Justine, Di, Katy, Lisa, Trudi and Katy C to name a few :)

This month's BOM technique is gathered patchwork hexagons. It was a technique I stumbled upon in my search for 3D hand sewing techniques and I think it was quite fun to do.
The companion project for this month is a mini travel sewing kit. I have visions of this one disappearing to live with Yvonne when I get it back from the publishers...I'll give you the link to the online tutorial when it's live but the tutorial is live on the Quilt Now website now and for anyone who already has the issue the pattern is in there :)
In other news, Leslie has reviewed the Doris Project bag pattern on her blog today. I can't wait to get back to the sewing machine as I have a Pam Kitty Garden Doris bag in progress that I started right before the nerve started playing up, fingers crossed it will be sorted out soon!
Catch you soon x

Friday, 10 April 2015

By Hand and a discount!

Hello all. I'm still suffering with the trapped nerve issue which is positively doing my head in! I'm awaiting MRI results which I hope will guide the people in the know to sort me out! Sewing machine time is seriously limited, I'm talking 5 minutes at the very most before I feel like crying, so there has been lots of hand-stitching and pattern writing going on to keep my equilibrium. First, I pattern tested a new design by Julianna which can be either Foundation Pieced or done with EPP. It goes together very quickly and is really quite fun to piece. You can find the free pattern here. Here's my version using some lovely Denyse Schmidt prints.

I also joined an Anna Maria Horner swap on Instagram before the pain got really bad so I've had to drum up a design that I can hand-piece so I don't have to drop out. This is one quarter of it; that is a lot of piecing! Thankfully the deadline is June so I should have plenty of time to finish this one :) Typically for me it's a riot of colour so I hope it won't scare my partner off too much!

I've just finished up the last blocks (all hand sewn) for the current Quilt Now BOM and am really looking forward to finishing the top off so I can send it away to Trudi to work her magic on it. You just know that it's going to be epic when Trudi is finished with it! I'm so glad I decided to piece this medallion as we went along rather than leaving it all to the end or I'd be in major hot-water right now!   I can't believe that Quilt Now has been around for almost a year now, bonkers. I'm really excited to be doing the next BOM for them too!!! Sorry for all the exclamation marks it's one of those days.
Finally, because we all know I need another project like a hole in the head, I've started up another Wafers EPP project, to give me a break from the epic piecing of the swap project, using a lovely selection of prints from Art Gallery Fabrics. I'm loving these earthy prints!
This leads nicely to the discount part of the title. I've just restocked our Etsy shop with some of our instant download patterns/templates (including this one) as it appears that Etsy will now be dealing with the VAT issue. To celebrate you can get 20% off everything in the Etsy shop this weekend only (10-12 April 2015) by entering INSTA20 at the checkout.
Hoping all is good in your world. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Promises - Mystery BOM Month 3

I'm a day late posting this month's mystery block so please accept my apologies if you were waiting with baited breath. 

This month we are English Paper piecing a block that I'm calling Promises.
 I've prepared templates in two sizes this month: 6" and 12" so you have options for different projects. As usual there is a secondary pattern when multiple blocks are pieced together.
Some of the piecing is a bit fiddly but I hope you'll think it's worth a try. I recommend starting with the pieced kites. The templates are the finished size so you need to add your seam allowances to the fabric when cutting them out.
 This is how I pieced the rest of the block.
One quarter done then repeat the process to add the remaining sections. Please excuse the bumpy circle in the middle of the finished block, I haven't removed the papers yet. You'll find the information sheet, colouring sheet and templates on the website.
I was thrilled to find Wendy's Rolling in the clover block in our Flickr group again this month! It's nice to know I'm not sewing alone :) 
If you decide to join in I'd love to see your versions and it would be great to be able to share some more of your work here along with our Flickr group and of course on Instagram #nelliesnicetiesmysterybom. Tell your friends, the more the merrier :) Catch you soon x

Thursday, 19 March 2015


Time away from my sewing machine has meant more time playing with EPP. Let me introduce you to Nellstar. This eight pointed star is a delight to piece! I started and finished this 7" block using Recollection by Katarina Roccella in just a couple of hours.
I've started my second of four blocks because you know there's a secondary pattern in there, isn't there always?!

I did have to put it to one side yesterday for an urgent itch that needed scratching. A bundle of Elizabeth by Tula Pink arrived yesterday morning and I just couldn't wait to try this block out. I kept the central octagon as a whole for this 12" block, Elizabeth demanded to be the centre of attention.
I'm pretty much in love with both versions of the block. Just in case any of you fancy having a go at your own version of Nellstar I've uploaded a project set to our Payhip store. The set includes an advice sheet, templates for both sizes of the block and a colouring sheet for the bargain price of £2. If you search the hashtag #nellstar on Instagram you'll find lots of progress shots of the making of these blocks. As always I'd love to see your version of this block if you have a go.
Right, I'm off to watch the rest of Scandal. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Prairie points

Not much to report from these parts at the moment. Creativity is crawling along thanks to an irritated nerve in my neck that is giving me the equivalent of sciatica in my arm and shoulder which is just peachy when you need to move said arm to use the sewing machine! I've had to do some quick thinking to rejig my plans for the Quilt Now BOM to reduce some of the reliance on the sewing machine for the final few blocks.

As Issue 9 has just hit the shelves of shops in the UK I can show you what we've done so far and I have to admit to being delighted with it.
All of the fabrics are from various collections for Art Gallery Fabrics and they all play beautifully together. If you're on Instagram you can search #quiltnowbom to see pictures of other BOM quilts in progress.
This month's BOM technique is Folded patchwork Prairie Points. A super quick technique that demanded a fun BOM project - a travel memory game. I dug out some of my Laurie Wisbrun and Heather Ross hoard for a bit of fussy cutting fun.
The free pattern will be  is available on the Quilt Now website soon now. I'm off to finish watching the Great British Sewing Bee now. Catch you soon x

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Rolling in clover

A new month starts today so that can mean only one thing, it's new Mystery BOM block time!
We're "Rolling in Clover" this month. This 6" English Paper Pieced design is a little tricky to piece in parts but well worth trying out.

As with most of my designs it tessellates to produce a secondary pattern.
You'll find the information sheet and templates on our website. I'm giving a little bit of guidance this month as it is a little tricky. You'll be printing the block off as whole then cutting your paper pieces from it this month.
As usual I glue basted all of my pieces.
By far the trickiest piece is the green one! For the best results when basting I clipped into the corners leaving only a few threads of fabric to catch when sewing.
When joining the shapes I started with the trickiest piece. (I use Aurifil thread to stitch as I find it doesn't tangle or snap!) I stitched from the tip of the triangle, right sides together with it's corresponding blue shape and continued in the order as shown below. 
I followed the same process to attach another of the green pieces to the opposite side of the blue shape as shown below.
Next step is to sew the second blue piece to the other side of the tricky green piece as shown below. Starting at the base of the blue shapes and working continuously around the green piece in the same manner as before.
Repeat these steps for the bottom half of the block, then join the two halves together. I started stitching from the centre of the block outwards to make sure that my centre points matched. Finally add the orange pieces to the corners of the block. I stitched the long edges together first then worked up both short sides from the base.
Leave the papers in while pressing if you intend to add further blocks, otherwise remove the papers and press well to remove any little lumps from the green bits. This block took me around an hour and half from start to finish in between cooking and watching the rugby.

I was delighted to see two Star Central projects added to our Flickr group for the first month! This first one is by Diane. I love that it's been turned into a project already!
Diane's photo from Flickr.
 The second one is by Wendy. Lots of yummy favourite fabrics in these!
Wendy's photo from Flickr.
If you decide to join in I'd love to see your versions and it would be great to be able to share some more of your work here along with our Flickr group and of course on Instagram #nelliesnicetiesmysterybom. Tell your friends, the more the merrier :) Catch you soon x

Thursday, 26 February 2015


Another week has passed by in a flash and we've celebrated Jess' 18th birthday. It seems like only yesterday that she was a chubby little one, now look at her! A beautiful young woman inside and out.
When we weren't celebrating or recovering from celebrating I took some time out to design yet more blocks on EQ7. Most of them are secret for now but I can show you this one that I designed last night for a block challenge on the Electric Quilt blog. The challenge involves using Fiesta from Michael Miller which has lots of large scale prints that are tricky to use in small scale but that wasn't going to stop me trying. I drafted this block in Patchdraw as I'm partial to paper pieced designs (I'm sure you hadn't noticed that, cough) and I find this the easiest way to use unusual but accurate shapes in EQ7. I'm still learning so I'm sure there is probably a better way of doing it but for now this works for me.  
As per usual I designed this block with secondary shapes in mind, that seems to be my style these days.
I'm not sure how easy it is to see the patterns in this colour way so here's another in solids which is much more defined.

The challenge is open to anybody, even those who scribble on paper ( I still do that too) and there are some great prizes up for grabs courtesy of Michael Miller and The Electric Quilt company. You might want to check it out for yourself. The challenge is open until March 11th. (Note. I'm not being sponsored to promote this I just thought I'd let you all know about the fun.)
Catch you soon x