Wednesday, 25 June 2014

I'm sitting here and .........

it's all gone quiet.

Thankfully....  After almost three weeks the builders have finished the driveway. Phew such a relief to be sat in quiet..... and not making cups of tea and biscuits ...... and jugs of iced water.  I tell you, the front of our house is in constant sunshine, from first thing in the morning until sundown on bright Summer days.  I was so worried that they would dehydrate ... the sun was so intense late last week and early this week.  Anyway, it's all done now and looking so much better.... and when I took them their first tea early this morning they gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to say 'thank you for looking after us'!!  I was so touched!  Lovely chaps and a first class job on the driveway too. ..........I'm still glad they've finished and left though. :-))

Here's the bouquet
                                             Definitely not a 'dash into Sainsbury's bunch'

So..... let me think..... what's been happening here since last time?  We've been busy in the garden.  I say 'we' but really I mean Ralph was doing most of the working and I was telling him what I wanted doing!  It's not an easy partnership, in the garden... us two.  Very different ideas.  Ralph likes order and straight lines and everything knowing it's place.  I love cottagey, billowy, full borders and (controlled) self seeding in the gravel and flowers that forget their place and spill onto the pathway.  And Ralph likes to think he's the boss and knows best and, in the garden, I often forget to let him think he's the boss and knows best!!  Shall I just say it's a tussle.. we have words ....quite often. Fortunately, the new garden is big and there is a lot to do so we are working quite harmoniously out there for now.  And when we do it turns out very pretty. At least I think so.

Doing very nicely in it's first year of planting

  Ralph found the slate in the compost area when he was sorting it out.  Along with house bricks, tiles and a toddlers broken slide!!  We thought the slate made a nice piece of garden art but the slide ... not so much.   

As for sewing matters.  I've been playing with a few projects.  Some of them are Correne's designs that I am enjoying doing my thing with.  The hexiestars quilt is growing slowly.  Why on earth I put it on my FAL list for Q2 as a finish I have no idea.... not going to happen.  

Hexiestars Quilt

I'm further on than this photo shows but you can see where I'm going with it and why it's not going to be finished for a while. I've added a few triangle hexies and a few strip hexies and some hexies made of one fabric with a large pattern or some such.  

Of course, part of the responsibility for me not finishing things is Correne's.... as you have seen she has been on a roll with EPP designs and I just can't resist trying them out...  before finishing one .... I have to start the next.  

Tessellated Madness Cushion

I love this pattern, possibly even more than the hexistars one.  I think it's the different shapes... you never know quite how they will look so have to keep going.  The fabrics are by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman and are so pretty.  Lovely ditsy flowers in an array of gentle colours.  Perfect.

I haven't started the Nellie's Knots pattern yet, I'll be honest, I'm a bit intimidated by paper piecing so need to work myself up to it.  I know exactly which fabrics I'm going to use though.....   Nor have I started the Cartwheels pattern but that's only because I got sidetracked and made a couple of Liberty Tana lawn cushions!  And they happened because I decided to cut a jelly roll slip from all of the Liberty lawn fabrics in my stash...  couldn't resist playing  ....

Liberty Tana Lawn and Kona solids


Liberty Lawn Cushion 1

and then these 

Half square triangles (lilac at the front of photo)


Liberty Lawn Cushion 2

to join together here

Liberty Quilt and Cushions 1&2

And all because I made one of these

61 Liberty lawn jelly roll strips!!

I wonder, I asked the question on Instagram what do you do with the off cut triangles from your flying geese or snowball blocks?  I'd love to know. That's where cushion 2 came from.   

So there you go that's what's been happening here for the last few weeks.  Maybe now it's quieter I will stop flitting from project to project and finish more than a couple of cushions that I didn't even plan to start!

I do plan to do more to my Swoon Quilt that was also on my FAL Q2 list ... to be finished ... another one .... not going to happen.  Also that is creating more half square triangles that I think I might have a plan for. 
Thanks for dropping by and staying awhile. 

Take good care of yourselves and happy sewing 

Yvonne Xxx


Sunday, 22 June 2014

A FAL finish! - New York Beauty

Hold the front page! I actually finished something on my FAL Q2 list! I started my New York Beauty project in March 2012 and I have absolutely no idea why it took me so long to get back to it. I started the weekend with these blocks...
I decided that I wanted to use them for cushion fronts so I needed to make 2 more blocks: Block 2
 and block 7 went together very quickly...
...then it was just a case of deciding on the layout for the 4 different blocks. Here's the one I went with.
I was a bit unsure how to quilt this as there was so much going on in the blocks. Initially I just outline quilted but that wasn't quite enough so I decided to do lots of lines that didn't necessarily echo the existing shapes.
You'll see what I mean in this close-up. It's not perfect but it'll do! I used Aurifil 5006 which is a light teal colour and was just right for this job.
I gave the other block the same treatment then it was time to transform them into cushions. I backed them both with the gorgeous floral print by Melody Miller.
 I couldn't resist keeping the selvedge intact on one of them :)
I'm in love with them so I'm hoping you'll excuse my rather over-the-top photographic coverage...
on a chair
Close-upon the dresser
On the dresser
They've found a resting place on the family room sofa for now :)
I'm delighted to finally cross this WIP off my list! I'm not sure how much further I'll get with my FAL list as I've got a ton of secret sewing to do which I'm impatient to be able to share with you very soon. I hope you've all been enjoying the nice weather this weekend. Catch you soon x

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


I told you it wouldn't be long before I was back with a finish! The cartwheels went together really quickly and I'm delighted with the end result, a rather large 22" square cushion that is happily filling a spot on one of our sofas in the front room :)
I used a gorgeous print by Anna Maria Horner for the back along with a brown solid. Yes you read that right, BROWN.
I thought that I'd be done with this EPP design for the time being until it occurred to me that it would probably be nice in a smaller know how it goes..., can't go wrong with Katie Jump Rope! Catch you soon :) 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

EPP addiction

It's been very strange in our household with hubby home recovering from his motorbike accident. All our usual routines have flown out the window and my sewing related to-do list is getting ever longer. I should be busting a gut getting patterns written up but I've mainly been distracted by EPP. I couldn't wait to finish my second Tessellated madness project. Sticking to a more structured fabric layout meant this went together much more quickly than the totally random placement of the original.
Such a summery palette. I found the perfect thread to quilt with in the shape of a yellow variegated Aurifil thread from one of Tula Pink's collections.
I didn't want anything too striking to detract from the gorgeous fabrics so this thread was perfect. It melted into the background but added fantastic texture.
It's a cushion now and has gone to live with Yvonne. This next photo made me smile and perfectly sums up what Yvonne was saying about our tastes yesterday! Non-identical twins ;)
Having finished this project I fully intended to get on with another WIP but I couldn't resist playing with TouchDraw again. The result of my playing was another new EPP block which I'm calling "Cartwheels" for now. I pulled a rather yummy selection of fabrics from my usual favourite designers, Anna Maria Horner, Tula Pink and Denyse Schmidt...
....then set to work on the block. I'm pretty much in love with this! There are more progress photos over on Instagram. It's quite a big block as this measures up around 11".
It's not going to be long before I can show you the finished article, it's very addictive! The perfect evening hand sewing project for hiding behind when England are playing in the World Cup!
In other news, I have decided to part with my Ice-cream Dreams quilt and so it now resides in our Etsy Shop.
Catch you soon x

Saturday, 14 June 2014

My very own Secret......

.......Garden Quilt.

Oh my I don't know about you but  I'm wilting in this heat!!!  I love the garden and all the pretty plants.  The beautiful flowers and the scents ...... the birdsong.... even the cheeky squirrel who is constantly trying to steal the peanuts out of the bird feeder!! ... I tell you we have words everyday..... But this hot weather is a disaster for me.  My body's thermostat is totally broken so it's hard work trying to stay cool, at the moment nothing is helping much!  

The point of that little ramble is, that even though I can't spend the time enjoying nature's finest outside, I can enjoy it inside.  Through the gift of beautiful fabrics that so many clever designers are dreaming up for us.  I have always loved florals in fabric, so much so that when Reene was still at home  she swore that she would NEVER have flowers in her own home decor.  I know..... honestly it's true.  She'd tell you herself if she was here.  I well remember her horror one day when she came home and I had stenciled  the kitchen and utility with a border of large pink roses.  She may have even muttered '......moving out' ..... How different we were.  It was the 80's / early 90's.  I was in my way over the top chintz, lace and flowers phase..... You know Scarlet wearing a dress she made from curtains in Gone with the Wind?  .... That was me....  Don't get me wrong I still love all those things, just a little less of them.  Correne, on the other hand was top to toe.... black or deep purple or a muddy green.  All beautiful but very different to me.  I always encouraged her to find her own style and not be afraid to be different.  Helped her to dye her hair weird colours, tie dye her clothes in bleach - a warning too much bleach = very holey leggings, wear her underslip as a dress... whatever.   But the fact is, between you and me, I am really thrilled that she absorbed my love of florals without even realizing. Her style is still different to mine but....   Seeing her 'you can never have too many flowers or colours in it' designs and quilts makes me smile. A lot.

So.....   My Secret Garden Quilt top was on my list  for Q2 of Katy's  FAL 2014.  To be made into a quilt top this quarter.  I'm very excited to say it is done!!!!  And I love it.  It's even better than I hoped for.  

A little background ..... I was invited ... yes I know... they didn't know me very well... to join the Fresh Modern Bee 2 on Flickr. Back in 2011.  For my month as 'Queen Bee' I asked the ladies to make me a flower block... any size and method.  My choice of fabric was Aviary by 3 Sisters for Moda.  Well, the blocks were lovely and varied but as I, then, became too ill to sew anything but a little hand sewing for over 18 months they went into my UFO/WIP box.  And there they stayed until Katy's FAL this year.  I decided it would be my aim to finish the quilt by the end of the year. I'm right on track too.... amazingly!

My design is inspired by Cindy Lammon's  book Gathered from the Garden , especially the quilt My Secret Garden.  Hence the name of my quilt. Now for the photos, there's quite a few.  I don't mind if you skim through.....  :-) 
All of the blocks from the delightful blocks FMB2 ladies   
Honestly I couldn't go wrong with this bounty could I? All I had to do was make the filler blocks to join them all together.So I made a start, I won't bore you with all of it just a couple of my absolute favourites copied from Cindy's book.
                                                        Alongside the image in Cindy's book.
Which became this:
And the Hollyhock:
Not a very good photo but it gives you an idea.
Which became this:                                                                                                                          
                                                                      Love this one.
The fussy cut of this flower was just like a bowl so I used some of Cindy's flower and leaves templates
I think it turned out quite sweet
Then I started adding fillers and borders to make them all fit together
Here are a few photos to show you how the quilt developed:                                                        
                            The three large blocks on the bottom line were from ladies in the Bee  
I added borders to make them the right size. The checkerboard, bird house, flower and tiny butterfly were from Cindy's book and I added other fillers to make the line complete.  And so on with the rest of the quilt top:   
           The white squares are the signatures of each of the ladies which I will incorporate in the backing.
A close up of the flower and butterfly and the borders added to fill in the spaces
And here it is.  The completed quilt top:                                                                                  
You get the idea but so much better in real life
It was a really wet and windy day when I took the photo so I had to do it in the lounge.  When it is complete I will take one in the garden. :-) Then you will see it in all it's glory!

So there you go.  Mission accomplished! Many thanks to Cindy  for the inspiration. Another tick on my list for FAL Q2.  I hope you like my quilt top.  And that it was worth wading through my long winded post to see it! :-)

Thank you for dropping by.  It was lovely to talk!  I hope you have a good weekend. Take good care of yourselves and happy sewing. Yvonne Xxx   

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Maybe I got lost......

on the way to blogging???

Ok. For starters, I'm sorry.  I am blushing here, it's been an age.  I knew it was a while but really? So long ago?  I'd like to claim I got lost on the way.  My sense of direction is renowned.  I get lost on the way to the bathroom from my bed! And that's a well trod path.... believe me! But I know getting lost on the way to the computer is a bit of a stretch of the imagination... even for me!!

So, I'm here now.  And in no time at all you will be wishing I had got lost ... on the way to the computer. :))

What was I going to tell you about?  Ah yes... a FAL 2014  finish for Q2.  I actually finished two of the things on my list a while ago.  So today I will tell you about the Tiny hexie cushion  finish. If you remember the tiny hexies were a swap from Helen and I was determined to make them into a cushion to send back to Helen with love.  Here's where it was at the end of Q1 

Such pretty fabrics

I chose the backings and binding to make it up into the cushion.                                                         

The same line as the hexies, Aviary from 3 Sisters for Moda
I don't know about you, but I think the back of any hexie work is almost as pretty as the front.

Don't you agree?

Anyway, decisions made it didn't take long to make it into  a cushion. I must say I was pleased with how it turned out. And was really happy to be able to send it off to Helen.  And it was even more fun knowing that it would be a surprise for her. :)  She's a genuinely lovely person and I wanted her to benefit from the work she put into those tiny hexies!!.

Apologies for the lack of a full photo of the finished cushion.  I seem to have forgotten to take one of those!  Or deleted it....   Maybe Helen has taken one?  If you look really closely and squint your eyes up ....go on..... you can just see the binding on it.  I promise it is a completely made cushion.  :) 

And then for me

Well, I had the bonus of some of the hexies left to make into something for myself.  I thought a little cushion of my own or a tiny wall hanging.  Haven't decided yet but am leaning towards a mini wall hanging.  As I usually fall over if I lean over, it looks like that will be the way I go!!!!! I've appliqued it to the background and hand stitched with cream perle thread so far.  I took it into my head I wanted to free motion quilt the outside of it! Hahaha... Right.  That's a laugh!!!  Never done it before, have been practising.... Let's just say.... It's going to take me a few years to finish it off!!!  I'm ok in a straight line but when I stop or change direction or move my hand ......  it all goes wrong!  And I end up with some kind of crazy zig zag 'pattern'.  Of course, I use the term very loosely. Because pattern it is..... NOT. If I'm feeling really brave I might show you a picture of my practicing efforts in my next post.  If you can convince me.  ;))

Well, there you go, that's about it.  One success for Katy's  FAL 2014. 

Tomorrow I hope to tell you about my other finish for Q2.  Assuming I remember and don't get lost on the way.  Of course.  In my defense, we are having our driveway done and they are waking me up at ridiculously early hours. 7.30 - 8 o'clock..  I tell you I am only just on nodding terms with 9 o'clock normally.  So suffice to say I am kna more exhausted than usual.  And tomorrow we are having the carpet fitted in the computer room too!!  In fact, I'll show you a photo, tomorrow, of where I am perched to write this post.  It's interesting to say the least, for the errr  is it ... vertically challenged? Someone who finds it difficult to stay upright is what I mean.  Not sure if it's horizontal or vertical.  

Anyway, I digress what I was meant to be saying was I'll sign off now and hope to be back tomorrow.
Thank you for indulging me and putting up with my waffling.  Take good care of yourselves and happy sewing.  Yvonne Xxx 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Tessellated madness

My hopes for a less stressful week were denied as it turns out that hubby managed to break a couple of ribs and bruise his lung during his motorbike spill last week. After much to-ing and fro-ing to Drs and the hospital he is now more comfortable and, all being well, on the road to recovery! My deadline sewing projects have been screaming at me from the cutting table but I've had to ignore them as I was too tired to concentrate and couldn't risk bodging them. I couldn't go all week without sewing though so I cracked on with my Tessellated Madness epp project. Yesterday I squared it up and quilted it with a zingy green Aurifil thread with my usual crazy straight lines.
Here's a close-up of the quilting:
Then it was a quick job to turn it into a cushion because I clearly don't have nearly enough of those ;)
I used the most awesome print by Anna Maria Horner for the backing fabric along with a flash of solid to conceal the zip!
For someone who has always detested hand sewing I have done plenty of it this past year! Just look at this little lot:
Spring Carnival, Diamonds, kites and stars, Hexiestars and Tessellated Madness
It's official I am that crazy patchwork lady! I absolutely love that riot of colour :) Now that I've finished this Tessellated Madness cushion I'm slightly miffed that you can't really see the tessellated design very clearly. So what does any sane person do in this instance?... they start another one of course! I pulled this fabric stack last night with the intention of piecing a more subtle version. There are some of my favourite vintage style prints here in the form of Dream On by Urban Chiks, Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey, Lecien dots and the ever lovely Kei florals that I got from Polkadotteafabrics. Here's my progress so far:
I'm hoping that the tessellated design will be easier to spot now that I'm using prints consistently throughout the block instead of being scraptastic!

Edited to add: There will be a pre-cut paper pieces kit available for this design in September 2017. You can refer to this post for basic visual guidance if you get stuck. As usual if you make anything with these templates I'd love to see your version! Please use #tessellatedmadness on Instagram or add a picture to our flickr group. Alternatively feel free to email me a photo :) Catch you soon x