Sunday, 25 May 2014

What a week!

There has been plenty of time to catch up on blog reading and crappy TV this week due to enforced bed rest, again (stomach bug, nothing serious)! I should have been chained to the sewing machine or pattern writing but instead, in between nana naps, I got on with a new EPP project. Since discovering glue basting the whole EPP thing really appeals to me in a way that it didn't before. As you know I'm fairly limited on the patience front, so the ability to crack on with sewing blocks together without spending hours tacking through shapes only to have to spend yet more hours unpicking everything is liberating! After finishing up my Hexiestars cushion I needed a fun new EPP project, so I drew up a plan on TouchDraw. I love tessellating shapes and wanted something a bit more testing than triangles and hexagons this time so I've used hexagons, pentagons and an octagon. I dragged out a pile of super bright solids and some of my favourite scraps and set to work on the first block. (Disclaimer: This picture is actually the second block because I forgot to take a picture of the first one with my camera, you can find the original block on Instagram.)
I've called it Tessellated Madness...because the line drawing in TouchDraw looked crazily complicated. This block actually goes together very quickly and I'm quite enjoying the process. The interlocking block that joins multiples of this block together is even quicker as there are only five pieces to it. I forgot to take a picture of it on its own but I'm sure you'll be able to work it which bits belong where, the green central block has 4 pentagons attached to it :)
 Very straightforward really...
...they fit together with a little help from a tiny diamond where you see the white gap in the centre of those four hexies.
Like so...
Within very little time I'm at this stage:
I just need to fill in the gaps around the outside now :) Not such a bad week up until this point if you disregard the stomach bug, then yesterday hubby and his motorbike parted company on a bend in the road! I'll cut a long story short to say that he's been exceptionally lucky to walk away with minor, albeit painful, injuries. He spared me the telephone call and the visit from the police and somehow managed to ride home. Needless to say it was a bit of a shock all round but we're very grateful that it wasn't more serious!

Today, I gave hubby a break from my constant nagging about painkillers and sat at the sewing machine for the first time in a while. I finally turned the Nellie's Knots top into a cushion for Catrin...
...and the mini Nellie's Knots into a little something for Sarah. Thanks ladies for being so patient!
I'm hoping for a much more pleasant week this week as I have many deadlines approaching which require serious attention. I could definitely do without any more stressful distractions! Catch you soon x

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Nellie's Knots - Free PDF foundation piecing templates

Please allow me to formally introduce you to Nellie's Knots. I designed this block for the Sew Mama Sew giveaway and it was given this fab name by Sarah. I promised that I'd make the templates available to anyone that was interested, so here I am. I'm not giving a full on tutorial but I will give some very basic instructions. I was slightly miffed by the asymmetry in this original block and that's down to me changing my mind about how I was going to piece it after I'd drawn up the templates! Don't get me wrong I still think it's pretty but my OCD nature was bothered. 

If you also have issues with the need for symmetry you might want to make sure you layout all your paper pieces correctly before starting :) You can use this second mini block that I made for reference.
I found it very useful to layout all the fabric before I started chopping so that I could get the fabric placement straight in my mind. I also numbered each block so that I would be able to match things up after sewing.
 There are two parts to each paper pieced template, you need to cut the template in half horizontally to give an a and b section. Seam allowances are not included so you need to make sure that add a 1/4" around each section as below.
I've prepared templates in two different sizes: 3" and 6". The examples shown here are around 12" and 24" finished, both use 16 templates. You will need to print off Templates A and B (which is just a mirror image of the A template) in your chosen size. Obviously you can add as many blocks as you like :)
As you can see I've played around with fabric placement to give you another perspective on the design. I don't think I've got any more pearls of wisdom. If you have any questions about the blocks feel free to leave a comment and I'll answer in the replies so that everyone benefits from the answer.

You'll find the PDF templates are here.

If you make your own version we'd love to see it! Please use the #NelliesKnots on Instagram or add a picture to our flickr group.
That's all for now folks. I'm off to enjoy the sunshine :) Catch you soon x

Edited to add: You will find a free PDF pictorial guide for Nellie's Knots in our Payhip store and in the Freebies section of our website.

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Winners

Thank you so much to everyone that joined in our Sew Mama Sew giveaway. We really enjoyed reading all your comments, there were so many great suggestions. I'm going to cut to the chase here and get on with announcing the winners!

Mr Random Number Generator decided that the winner of the mini quilt/ cushion cover should be:
Comment number 16 is Catrin! I'll turn this into a cushion over the weekend :)
 Funnily enough that brings me on nicely to our next winner :)

We loved Sarah's suggestion! Well we would, wouldn't we?! Any reference to our beloved Nellie Foster was going to be a hit with us :) I'll turn this little block into a mini for you, Sarah :)

So to soften the blow of not winning for all the other commenters, as promised, you will find the details of the templates for the Nellie's Knots design here.
Thanks again for taking part. catch you soon x

Friday, 16 May 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Art Quilt - Never Forgotten

It's Blogger's Quilt Festival time! Amy does a fantastic job of organising this online festival to keep us busy when we're sulking about not being at International Quilt Market. Hello, if you're visiting for the first time I hope you'll stay to have a look around :) If you're a regular I apologise for bombarding you with quilts you've already seen :)
I've made quite a few quilts this year so it's been tough to decide which ones to enter. I've settled on two this time around. This is my second entry, my Never Forgotten improv quilt.

I made this quilt to enter my very first quilt show at British Quilt and Stitch Village last month. There was a special theme commemorating World War 1 and the 70th anniversary of D Day. I chose to commemorate members of my family that had served in both of these wars, some that came home injured and some who never returned. There is lots of symbolism in this little quilt e.g. the red pops of colour symbolise a poppy wreath. Two of the red fabrics I chose to use in the "wreath" are stars and stripes, they signify James and George Dawson who were born in USA to British parents. James never came home from France but thankfully, my Great-Grandad George did. There is more information about this quilt and my reasons for making it here if you're interested :) 

I have to say I'm really proud of this little beauty. It finished up around 40" square. Well, square in the loosest sense of the word. I tried squaring it up but it just kept on shrinking and for fear of having to submit it as a mug rug I gave up ;) 

Here are some of my favourite bits in more detail:
The poppy wreath
The stamped centre of the poppy wreath - Never Forgotten
Crazy straight line quilting - tram lines
I used 5 different colours of Aurifil thread for the quilting because I wanted to echo the colours in the fabrics without any one colour overpowering things. This was easily the scariest part for me as I loved the way the top looked when it was finished and was worried that my quilting would ruin it.
Clearer close-up of quilting
In the end I am thrilled with the effect, it has made the quilt really tactile. Improv piecing does not come easily to me as I really prefer a lot of structure and control within my patchwork projects. This project really flowed for me though and I'm sure that's because I felt so emotionally connected with the subject matter. 
Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to check out all the other awesome quilts in this category :) Catch you soon x 

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Large quilt - Not-so Lonestar

It's Blogger's Quilt Festival time! Amy does a fantastic job of organising this online festival to keep us busy when we're sulking about not being at International Quilt Market. Hello, if you're visiting for the first time I hope you'll stay to have a look around :) If you're a regular I apologise for bombarding you with quilts you've already seen :)
I've made quite a few quilts this year so it's been tough to decide which ones to enter. I've settled on two this time around. This is my first entry, my version of Kaffe Fassett's awesome Not-so Lonestar Quilt.
This quilt was a long time in the making! After a couple of false starts I finally got to grips with it over the Christmas and New Year holidays. It's an absolutely massive quilt, finishing up at over 90" square. To get a better sense of the scale here's a similar picture but with 5'5" Jess in the shot :)
This quilt was a real labour of love! All those diamonds are individually hand cut and there are hundreds of them. I used Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner and Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler and just love the way that they play together. As this was such a monster quilt there was no way I was going to attempt quilting myself, so I sent it off to the amazingly talented Trudi Wood for her to work her long-arm magic. The feathers that Trudi quilted have taken this quilt to a whole new level for me.
There are tons more photos in previous posts about this quilt so I won't overload you with them all here. This quilt now inhabits our bedroom and I'm working up the motivation to get a bigger bed to accommodate it more comfortably.
It's not perfectly pieced but it's as good as I'm capable of at this stage in my patchworking life. I think it will be a favourite for a very long time! I smile every time I see it, so that can't be a bad thing :)
Thanks for taking a look around. Don't forget to visit all the other awesome quilts on show in this category. Catch you soon x

Monday, 12 May 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day

It's that time of year again! Sew Mama Sew are holding the first of their twice yearly giveaway days/weeks. We love a giveaway around here so we had to join in again :) With no firm idea of what we were going to offer up this time round I went to bed Saturday night with the seed of an idea...what would happen if I paired > with +...Strange but true! I woke up Sunday morning with the beginning of a plan and after much faffing around with paper, pencil and ruler I was ready to start making. I grabbed a stack of Japanese fabrics from Polka dot tea fabrics, a dash of Vintage Happy by Lori Holt, some precious Dream On from Moda and some luscious denim yarn dyed linen. With plenty of encouragement from the lovely gang on Instagram I've ended up with this:
We thought it would be nice to let the winner decide whether they would like this to be a cushion or a wall-hanging. It's going to finish up around 24" square! So to be in with a chance to win this (finished by me obviously!):
Please leave a comment here with a name suggestion for this pattern.
For a bonus chance to win, leave another comment to let us know if you are a follower, new or regular

The winner will be chosen by random number generator.

There will also be a small surprise gift for the best pattern name so get your thinking caps on :) If you check back on 17th May you might just find the templates for this design waiting for you, just saying ;)

The giveaway is open to everyone. The draw will close on Friday 16th May at 5pm PST but as we're in the UK and will be sound asleep at the equivalent 1am you might sneak in before I wake up on the 17th May.  So now all that's left for you to do is go visit some of the other fab giveaways.
Catch you soon x

Edited to add: Please excuse me if I don't manage to reply to all the comments on this giveaway post :)
Edited to add the winners are Catrin Lewis and Sarah@Sew Me.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

FAL -Hexiestars cushion

My day started with the return of my quilts from Quilt and Stitch Village, which also meant the judges comments! I was braver than I thought I would be taking a peek at them and thankfully they were better than I expected :) Here are the comments for the Brit Print Girls Medallion Quilt...
and the comments for the Never Forgotten improv quilt. I wondered how the judges would react to the improv quilt as it was a very traditional show, so I was delighted that they liked my "refreshingly different interpretation of the theme" :) Also delighted that there were no ticks in the "needs attention" box!
After such positive comments I will be brave enough to enter another quilt competition in the future :) This afternoon I managed to squeeze in some much needed sewing time and finished up my Hexiestars cushion! I'm so pleased to able to cross this one off my FAL list :)
It was really difficult to get a decent picture today as it was so grey outside but I was too impatient to take finished pictures, sorry. I didn't want to compete with the colours of the stars so used a grey variegated Aurifil thread to echo quilt the hexagons...
and create a wonky asterisk through the stars.
I'm thrilled with how it has turned out and I've been overwhelmed with the response to it over on Instagram :) Don't forget the templates are available here if you fancy having a go yourself! I'd love to see your version if you do, so please use #hexiestars over on Instagram or add a picture to our Flickr group :)
Catch you soon x

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Thanks to all who put their name in for a free copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Mr Random Number Generator chose:
The winner is:
Anita, I'm off to email you for your address now. Sorry you couldn't all win one. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 1 May 2014


Hello again. I hope you're not sick of me yet...I can't remember the last time I blogged this frequently! Sewing has been in short supply this week as I've been resting a trapped nerve in my back following my trip to Quilt and Stitch Village. I do, however, have something worth blogging about!
The lovely folks at Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine returned my Ice Cream Dreams quilt today and in the package was a free copy of Issue 8!

I'm already a subscriber so I thought it would be nice to give it away to one of our lovely readers :) So if you're interested in receiving this free copy from me just leave a comment here. If there's more than one of you I'll use Mr Random Number Generator to choose a winner. I'll close comments on Monday 5th May at around 10pm (BST). Catch you soon x