Monday, 29 December 2014


Hello all. I hope you're enjoying the holidays. This is a flying visit to let you know we're having a sale in our Etsy store. In anticipation of the change in EU law governing instant downloads we're giving customers 10% off everything in store until 6.00pm (GMT) on 31st December 2014.
We'll be offering PDF downloads via another route in the new year but that will take a bit of time to set up so we won't be ready in time to comply with the new laws on 1st January, as a result PDF instant download sales will cease in our Etsy store after 6.00pm on 31st December 2014.
I'm going to get back to munching chocolates now. Catch you soon x

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Rushing around

On this Christmas Eve it's time to admit defeat, whatever isn't done isn't going to get done. Instead we'll be chilling out for the next few days and remembering the reason for the season...
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas if you celebrate it, and if you don't, happy holidays to you. Catch you soon x

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Winner and a launch

Thank you so much to everyone that visited us for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway! It's been fun reading all your comments. I'm so glad to learn that we're not alone in being buried in WIPs. Apologies for not managing to reply to you all individually but I'm sure you understand how busy this time of year is. I've spent the last couple of days tweaking the pattern for the Doris project bag and thanks to the able of assistance of my pattern tester, Celine, it is now ready for launch! Woohoo!

Anyway, I'm getting ahead myself. First things first.The winner of this Doris project bag is...
...comment number 9.
Congratulations, Martina. I will email you shortly for your postal details,
Sorry you couldn't all win, better luck next time!
For those of you who haven't already clicked away from the page in disappointment I'll share the details for the launch of the Doris project bag pattern.
The 10 page PDF pattern is now available in our Etsy shop at the introductory price of £4.50. It will be available as an instant download until the 30th December 2014. Instant download sales will be suspended from 31st December until I work out the best way to deal with new EU VAT laws that govern e-services.
As a special incentive I'll be contacting the first 5 purchasers for their postal details so I can send them a little something in the new year!
Thank you all for supporting and encouraging us over the past 12 months, it's been a very busy and exciting time. Catch you soon x

Edited to add - The 10 page PDF pattern is now available as an instant download in our Payhip store for £5.50.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway - Doris project bag

Hello all. It's that time of year again when blogland comes to life for the Winter edition of Sew Mama Sew giveaway day/week.

If you've visited us before, our giveaway offering won't be entirely new to you but hopefully you'll think it's worth having. If you've not visited before I'll fill you in briefly, I know there are lot of other places to visit!

A couple of weeks ago I made a project bag to house my yarn projects instead of the grotty plastic mailing bag that I had been using for almost a year (oh the shame!). Since then I have become somewhat obsessed (sorry, Instagram friends) with making them and have now made 5! I made a few adaptations to the original design as I wanted to add a carry strap and zipped pocket to make it a functional bag outside of the home. It's since been named the Doris project bag and I've written a pattern for it that will be released shortly in our Etsy store. Payhip store.
For the SMS giveaway version I've used Pam Kitty Picnic, Country Girls, Flower Sugar, April Showers and Vintage Happy which I hope you'll find appealing.
The Doris bag is approximately 18"(h) x 16" (w) x 6"(d). It's fully lined and has been entirely machine sewn for durability. It closes with a satin ribbon drawstring that is neatly enclosed inside the bag. There's an elasticated fabric loop inside the bag for attaching things to or to hold things upright.
The bottom section of the bag is lightly structured so that it can be free-standing. The top section of the bag is less structured so that it can fold back over itself (please see photos) to allow easy access to your yarn when in use. There are 2 exterior pockets: one 7.5” x 11.5” open pocket for storing your pattern and one 7.5” x 11” zipped pocket for storing items that need to be kept safe in transit (e.g. crochet hooks, stitch counters or maybe your mobile phone). There is a 52” fabric carry strap that has a metal snap hook at each end to allow for easy removal of strap.
So, if the Doris bag is something you think you'd like a chance to win, please leave a comment telling us your current work in progress. We're buried under half finished projects at the moment so it will be nice to find out what everyone else is up to.
If you fancy a second chance at winning you can click the follow button  and leave another comment telling us that you did or that you already follow us.
The giveaway will close on December 12th at 5.00pm PST. In the UK that's around 1.00am so you can rest assured I'll be tucked up in bed asleep then so I'll draw the winner using Random Number Generator when I wake up.
We're happy to ship Internationally but we obviously can't guarantee that the bag will be with you before the New Year as the last posting date for guaranteed delivery by Christmas has now passed.
Again to remind you: 1st chance to win - leave a comment telling us your current work in progress.
                                   2nd chance to win - leave a comment telling us you are a new or existing follower   
I will try to answer as many comments as possible but please don't think I'm rude if I don't manage to reply to everyone as these giveaways can be so popular and I have a lot of sewing to be doing :) I almost forgot, please make sure I can contact you if you win by leaving an email address with your comment if you are a no-reply blogger. If I can't get hold of you and don't hear from you the day after the draw I will draw another winner.
In the meantime I hope you all enjoy visiting the other blogs taking part in the SMS giveaway. Good luck to all who enter. Catch you soon x

Edited to add the winner of the giveaway is Martina. Thanks for entering everyone.
Edited to add the Doris project bag pattern is now available in our Payhip store.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Doris project bag

I've been on a bag making spree since I was last here. The yarn project bag that I made to keep everything tidy sparked a major obsession that my Instagram friends can attest to! I just don't seem to be able to stop making them. I've adapted the design since my original version was only ever intended to be used at home, the bag now has an optional carry strap and an additional exterior pocket with a zip making it a very useful everyday bag :) I've also christened this design the "Doris project bag". I had a very beloved great aunt named Doris and she and I shared an unhealthy obsession with plastic bags. Given that I designed this bag to replace an exceptionally ugly plastic bag it seemed only fitting to call it Doris and it makes me smile every time I think I about it. I'd like to think that I would have been able to persuade her to use one of these bags in the place of a plastic bag :)
left hand bag version 2, right hand bag original version
Yvonne has earmarked the bag on the left as her Christmas present. I think there would be major sulking if it didn't show up in her Christmas stocking, it's Lecien Flower Sugar and Pam Kitty Picnic heaven ;)

I've made a rather special version of this bag using some long hoarded Tula Pink fabric. I've decided to sell this one but rest assured it if it's still in the Etsy store by Christmas Eve it won't be leaving our house. There is a certain teenager with her fingers firmly crossed...
Front of Nightshade Doris bag
 Tula Pink is just a genius designer!
Back of Nightshade Doris bag
Nice and roomy in there for lots of stuff, not just yarn!
I'm currently whipping up 2 more bags, one for a Christmas present and the other for the Sew Mama Sew giveaway which starts on Monday 8th December. I've also been hard at work writing a very detailed pattern for the Doris project bag. It is not easy writing a detailed bag pattern, I totally admire people like Katy and Sara who do this on a regular basis! I've got a friend testing the pattern for me and it will be available very soon in our Etsy shop. The PDF pattern is now available as an instant download in our Payhip store and our Etsy store for £7.00.

Right, now to get off my backside and get sewing! If you fancy the chance at winning a Doris bag of your own you might want to check back on Monday :) Catch you soon x

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Strike a pose

I currently have this song running through my head...'s Vogue by Madonna for those that don't know. It's typical of me and my drama queen reaction to this amazing happening...
That, right there, is my quilt on the cover of Quilt Now Issue 5!!!! I am ridiculously chuffed to be gracing the cover. This is my favourite quilt design to date, so to have it on the front of the magazine is the cherry on top for me :)
I'm not going to lie, it was hard work making all those blocks but totally worthwhile for the end result. I got busy with the Perle 8 thread for some chunky hand quilting and I love the texture it gives :)
This issue of Quilt Now is all about scraps and there are lots of lovely projects for inspiration inside. We're making the second set of blocks towards the next border in the block of the month using Crazy Patchwork. It's quick and fun!
This month's free BOM project is an apron and you'll find the tutorial here.
Now I'm off to chill out before a rare outing to see Noel Fielding... Catch you soon x

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Will wonders never cease? I've actually finished two projects that I was desperate to complete before Winter set in! The first is a crochet blanket that I started last Winter. I made a small lap size version of a pattern from this book. I went off plan and added a couple of rounds of double and treble crochet around the edge to finish it off. I definitely didn't have the stamina to make the queen size version!  
It's currently looking pretty on the back of the sofa :)
The second, probably more important finish is Jess' cardigan! This is another project that I started last Winter when I miraculously grasped the knack of knitting after many years of abject failure. Of course I had to go for a full on fancy, dancy cable cardigan for my first ever full size garment! The pattern is in this book by Anna Wilkinson. I used a lovely denim blue yarn by UK Alpaca which is really soft and should keep Jess nice and snuggly.
Here's a view of the back. Not too shabby :)
This close-up of the sleeve pattern shows what I was up against as a knitting rookie.
All-in-all I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out and it fits Jess which is a definite bonus! I'm going to attempt a cardigan for myself next...With all this lovely yarn I have hanging around I figured I ought to make some pretty storage for projects in progress. Until now they've been sitting in the ugly plastic mail bags that they arrived in and that's a bit daft. I couldn't wait to sneak some Priory Square in to a new project...
...and it was about time I used some precious Anna Maria Horner.
I'm sure you'll agree that it's considerably prettier than grey plastic! I'm in the process of making an alternative version of this bag and a pattern might be in the works ;) Catch you soon x

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