Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Candy twists

It's that time of the month again; Quilt Now Issue 4 is on the shelves in UK shops. The beautiful cover quilt is by the very talented Jessie Fincham and I'm seriously tempted to try one myself.
This month's block of the month uses the tube technique commonly used for Scrappy trips - quick and easy :)
 I was thrilled to discover that Katy managed to squeeze in the BOM project too, so it's not only available online this month. Who doesn't need a hessian present sack?!
There's also an easy peasy quilt by yours truly between the covers this month - Candy Twists.
I love the styling with that cute cot. I used the rather lovely Winter's Lane by Kate and Birdie Paper Co for my version of Candy Twists. It's such a great line from last year and the colour palette says winter without the overt novelty element that can sneak in to Christmas fabrics. Sorry for using the C word, it's still a bit early in the year to be using that word. 
I'm hoping to get chance to sew up a variation of this design in some brighter colours...
Catch you soon x 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2014 - Octastring quilt

While the great and good of the quilting industry have been hustling at International Quilt Market I've been busy putting the finishing touches to this quilt with the sole intention of being able to share it in Amy's  Blogger's Quilt Festival. My Octastring quilt has been a long time in the making! Apologies to regular visitors for re-visiting familiar territory, I'll keep it brief ;) I designed the block in 2012, originally intending to use my Flea Market Fancy  and Hope Valley stash, but quickly ran out of steam for the project.
A year later I had a light-bulb moment, why not get the ladies of the HipBees to make the blocks for me?! By this time Denyse Schmidt had released yet more fabulous fabric ranges to plunder for this project. I threw in prints from Shelburne Falls and Florence to supplement the Hope Valley and Flea Market Fancy. I received 10 fabulous blocks and added 2 of my own to complete the lap-sized quilt top. I'm a sucker for a secondary pattern!
Then, as is usual for me the WIP got put to one side yet again. It sat like this on my design wall for way too long! The problem was mainly that I felt the top needed a border but I didn't want anything too big in case it detracted from the design.
Finally, last week, I added a 2 and a half inch solid border and cracked on with finishing the project! I pieced a simple backing for the quilt using some of the scrap remnants from the original block construction and some yardage of one of my favourite prints from the Flea Market Fancy reprint.
I did a very simple quilting treatment as there's so much going on in this quilt already with all those prints. I used a nice aqua blue Aurifil thread for some straight line machine quilting then echo quilted the octagons with chunky hand quilting and Perle 8 thread.
The finishing touch was the self-binding, slightly fiddly but well worth the faff.
I'm absolutely delighted with how the quilt has turned out and I'm so thankful to my fabulous bee mates for making it happen!
This quilt finished up at around  45" by 58", so perfect for keeping my lap warm in the evenings when watching tv. I can't resist leaving you with the finished quilt again :)
I'm linking this one up to the Original Design category of the Blogger's quilt festival. If you like it maybe you'd be able to see your way clear to voting for it or maybe even nominating it for a Viewer's choice award. Either way it's well worth visiting Amy's site to check out all the other awesome entries!

If you fancy making an Octastring project yourself, you'll find the Octastring block details on our website.
Thanks for visiting today, I hope you'll visit again. Catch you soon x


Saturday, 18 October 2014

This little piggy stayed home...

Please excuse the radio silence, I've been very busy stitching and pattern writing and ran out of steam to blog. I'm here for a flying to visit to show a couple of little things I've made for the very lovely Katy Jones. I'm sure most of you will know that Katy is heading off to Quilt Market to launch her first fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. I had the great privilege of working with some of Katy's knit strike offs but I will admit to perspiring more than is appropriate for a lady while cutting out a little girl's dress. I had only sewn with knit fabric once so I was taking a bit of a chance volunteering to make something with Katy's precious strike offs but fortune favours the brave ;) I used this lovely pattern for the dress, stripped down to its most basic form due to the joyous no-fray properties of knit fabric. The end result is rather cute.
The knit has a beautiful drape and I would recommend it to anyone! I just wish I could get away with wearing this colour...I am contemplating it in the skirt of a dress  because I just love the print! Here's a closer look at the detail of the print...yummy, I tell you!
Then, last weekend, I thought it would be nice to do an embroidery for Katy using the Priory Square artwork. There were a fair few hours worth of stitching involved but I had a fantastic cheering squad over on Instagram!
This slightly crumpled piece has been turned into something truly beautiful by Katy! I'm so thrilled to have played a tiny part in the making of Katy's booth. I can't wait to see pictures of the finished booth next week! More importantly though, I can't wait to get my hands on the the fabric, I definitely need yardage of this line!  Catch you soon x

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Naughts and crosses

This week has passed by in a cloud of germs that were not conducive to anything more productive than sleeping. I have a pile of deadline sewing that is screaming at me from the sewing room but that door will remain firmly shut for a little while longer. Despite having nothing recent to show you I can share some sewing that I did a lot earlier this year :)
When Denyse Schmidt released her Ansonia collection I couldn't wait to get busy with it. I played around with TouchDraw and came up with a simple but effective design to show it off - Granny Crosses. I used the pinks and blues from Ansonia along with black yarn dyed Essex linen as the background fabric and I love the way it looks. It just screams snuggly at me :)
The pattern for the quilt and cushion is available in Issue 3 of Quilt Now so I can't show the construction but it is a very simple, single block used in rotation which seems to be my trademark these days.
Issue 3 looks like this and you'll find lots of other lovely projects between the pages. The cover quilt is by the lovely Lynne!
Of course my Block of the Month is in there too. This month readers get the first hint of how the Medallion quilt will go together. It's been lovely to see some people sewing along with me - particularly Sarah and Yvonne :)
There's also the free project tutorial for this month's BOM, Wall Art, which is live on the Quilt Now website.
I've run out of steam, so for now I'm back to resting up ready to attack the sewing room tomorrow. I hope you're lurgy-free wherever you are. Catch you soon x

Friday, 19 September 2014

Light relief

I really fancied a bit of sewing for fun. Don't get me wrong I love sewing for work (who wouldn't?!) but every once in a while it's nice to sew something that I haven't had to design and write a pattern for. I'm honestly not that great at following patterns for patchwork because I do like to do my own thing but the wonders of Instagram inspired me to tackle this baby!
 The Modern Building Blocks pattern from Moda is a showcase for solids but we all know I wasn't going to stick to the "rules" ;) The day my pattern arrived from Jessie I had a rummage around in my ridiculously over-flowing stash cupboard, studiously avoiding all the solids, and made a start on Block 1. It's a huge block at around 36" square!

As a jump off point I've chosen navy blue, peach/coral/tangerine and mustard along with floral and animal prints. I'm sure I'll throw some more elements in for good measure as the top grows but for now I'm aiming for edgy feminine/gender neutral. I was determined to feature this awesome print from August by Sarah Watts of Cotton and Steel fame. It's a seriously cool print which I've probably just insulted by calling it cool.
The navy cross-hatch and orange Japanese spot/floral make me very smiley. I was also ridiculously happy to be able to throw in a Densyse Schmidt floral that I snagged from Amanda's Instagram destash! A little whimsy in the form of ducks by Tasha Noel and the striking peach/white/navy print from Arizona by April Rhodes round off this monster block :)
Excuse the world's worst photo of the finished block, I'm running out of space to display things without exposing secret sewing projects that I'd have to kill you if you saw at this stage ;)
 Buoyed by the success of this block I wasted no time in cranking out the next 2 to complete the first section of this monster quilt top! Again, please excuse the horrendous photos :) This one features, Anna Maria Horner in the centre, text print from Cherie by Frances Newcombe, crosshatch from Indelible by Katarina Roccella and navy and orange floral from Botanique by Joel Dewberry.
The next one features Anna Maria Horner fabrics from Dowry and Field Study alongside a grey print from Indelible by Katarina Roccella.
These 3 blocks complete one section of the quilt top. This dodgy photo belies the size of this section.
I've already started work on the next section, it's surprisingly addictive...
...this one includes an old favourite in the shape of Farmdale (the grey floral) and Hadley by Denyse Schmidt. I can't remember who the navy and white cross print is by so feel free to chime in if you know :) Right, now I need to crack on with some sewing for work. Catch you soon x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Completion

I've been jumping between projects in the sewing room over the past few weeks. It's been increasingly difficult to stick with any one project through to completion. This weekend I was determined to remedy that!

Earlier this Summer I bought a very cute Oliver + S pattern called Sketchbook shirt and shorts from The Village Haberdashery with the intention of making a little of outfit for my nephew, Mackinlay. I had the perfect fabric in mind for the shirt - the adverts print from Rocket Age by October Afternoon for Riley Blake. I've been putting it off because, frankly, I wasn't sure my dressmaking skills were up to the challenge. My fears were unfounded! It is a fantastic pattern, really clear and non-scary and the end result is a very professional looking shirt :)
I went for the short-sleeved, rounded collar version and didn't bother with a pocket for the minimum of stress.
My pattern matching is non-existent but I figured it's such a busy print I can get away with it. There's a fancy box-pleat at the back of the shirt which makes it feel very fancy :)
As a finishing touch, I added in some cute train buttons as Mackinlay is rather fond of "choo-choos".
 I handed the shirt over to the little-man himself this afternoon and he responded in just the right way with a big toothy grin and abandonment of his toy so that he could carry his new shirt home himself. All that effort was definitely worthwhile :) Catch you soon x

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Singer

It might have taken me over a week but I've finally summoned up the motivation to share the new addition to our sewing machine family! We found this beauty in one of local charity shops and there was no way we were leaving without her!
A slightly scuffed case but it hides a beauty! A Singer 201K hand-crank sewing machine with a couple of tiny scratches in the base plate but she is pristine other than that. A quick google of the identification number revealed that she hails from 1951.
This view from above shows the electric light that is fixed to the machine at the back. I haven't been brave enough to plug the light in to one of our lamps yet...maybe one day.
Amazingly the accessories are all there in their box and virtually unused, complete with the instruction manuals and original Singer needles. We really hit the jackpot!
I couldn't resist threading her up and having a go. Zero adjustments and perfectly even stitches first go! Delighted doesn't come close to describing it.
The only down-side is that Jess loves her too and given the state of my sewing room there is no room for another machine so this beauty will be finding a home in Jess' room. In fairness I'm sure that Jess will use this machine frequently whereas I would just enjoy looking at her. Yvonne was slightly disappointed that this wasn't her birthday present but she did a good impression of being thrilled with the tote bag I made her instead ;)
The pattern for this simple tote will be in an Intrepid Thread newsletter soon. I'm off to write more patterns now so that I can get back on with the fun stuff and actual sewing! Catch you soon x