Sunday 30 September 2012

Slow Bloggers Linky Party

Are you a Slow Blogger?  Do you have bursts of crafting activity interspersed with periods where real life gets in the way?  Me too.

Maybe you've been unusually productive.   Or maybe other stuff has come between you and your sewing machine.  Whatever the story you can share it with other Slow Bloggers on the last day of each month.   Celebrate by linking your mosaic of makes here (and everywhere else:-), or fill us in on what you've been up to.  Welcome to the second Slow Bloggers Linky Party!

With the summer holidays over and the children back at school, this has been a comparatively productive month for me.  I've had to catch up with client work (I'm a gardener), but in between I've been sewing like a mad thing.

Round bottom bags; Liberty and jeans cushion; First quilt for me!; Oakshott curve-pieced cushion

Other reasons to be cheerful this month :

Grown-ups only hillwalking; discovering spray baste, Lovely quilts at the Scottish Quilt Show - Gekko Fabulous by Rhiannon Taylor and Going Crazy: Got the Blues by Katharine Guerrier (posted with permission); cake; raaaargh!;

What about you?   I'd love to hear.  Just include the Slow Blog button (you can find it in my sidebar) in your post, link up, and support other Slow Bloggers by leaving them a comment.  The linky stays open for a week.

If you would like to host an upcoming Slow Bloggers Linky Party, just let me know.


Saturday 29 September 2012

Hop, Hop, Link

One of the reasons I blog is that I wanted a bit of an incentive to get off my bottom and do stuff and learn things so I've recklessly signed up for a pitstop on the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop.  It runs from 1st October to 30th November and includes stops all over the world (see the full list here ) with bloggers taking a pic of a lovely place and using it as colour inspiration for an English paper pieced block.

My spot is up on 13th October (hope that's not inauspicious), but even if you don't have an official spot on the hop you can take part and link up on 30th November.    The hop is sponsored by Paperpieces.comFabricworm, Pink Castle Fabrics  Marmalade Fabrics, the Fat Quarter ShopWantItNeedItQuilt, and Aurifil who are offering some fantastic prizes.

Full details can be found here.  

On Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted blog hop you can visit the latest stops here:

Sep 25
        Amanda from Material Girl Quilts
        Amanda from Fabric Engineer
Sep 27
        Vicky from Vicky K Creating
         Francine from Mocha Wild Child

Oct 2
         Martha from Weekend Doings
         Melissa from Sew Bittersweet Designs

Finally, temporary and permanent Slow Bloggers, don't forget that you can link up here tomorrow for the Second Slow Bloggers Linky Party and share your crafting achievements (or otherwise) for the month.  If you would like to be a future host, let me know.

Friday 28 September 2012


I have finished my Oakshott cushion, and it's Friday, so I'm linking up to TGIFF hosted today by Kristy at Quiet Play.   If you're visiting from there, hello, and thank you very much for looking in!

This cushion cover is my first attempt at piecing curves and I love the way it turned out.  

It's a present for my lovely mum (and dad!), to go in their newly decorated sitting room.  They live near the sea and the cushion was inspired by that, and also by the curves of the hills in mum's favourite picture of the downs where she lived when she was young.  It is backed in a piece of Lotta Jansdotter Little Florine, and I managed to work out how to put in a concealed zip not too shabbily.

I can't wait to try curved piecing again - it was fun to do and not nearly as difficult as you might think. I'm quite (pathetically) proud of these flat seams. 

It's been very stormy and wet, and I dashed out between rain showers to take some pictures.  It doesn't look too happy in this one but you can see the colours well!  Aren't these Oakshott cottons beautiful?   I just want my fairy godmother to know that I'm not at all interested in going to the ball - I'd be quite happy to stay at home and play with a bundle of Ruby Reds. [Updated to say: it turns out she was listening!]

Things I learned about curved piecing:
  • To make matching edges, lay two pieces of fabric down both right side up with their edges overlapping, and cut through both with your rotary cutter.
  • I didn't pin (I can never be bothered, which probably explains a lot), but held the two pieces loosely, right side together, one in each hand, lining up the edges only at the point just ahead of the foot.  
  •  If you use each hand to guide the edges gently towards each other as you bring them in line with the side of the foot, they come together surprisingly easily.  
  • Go steadily and relax.
  • The most important thing is not to tug because it stretches the fabric and causes puckers. 

Don't forget to look at the lovely things on show at Quiet Play today.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

WIP Wednesday - Curves

A while back I bought these with some birthday money:

They're so lovely!   I wanted to make a cushion cover as a present for my mum and to learn to piece curves so I laid out pieces of the Oakshott on top of each other, two at a time, and cut through them with my rotary cutter to make matching pairs of wavy strips.

It was all going so nicely and I was feeling very smug as I was machining the finished piece to some batting when I noticed a tiny spot on the fabric. At first I thought it was a shadow under the light of the machine,  but it spread.

I have no idea where it came from but it seemed to be oil and I was really cross, especially since I then had to unpick my most successful seam (of course) and cut and sew in a new strip. Oh well:-)

This is where it's at just now:

The thread I used to quilt is a nice variegated sulky 30 but I think it's too fine.  I may have to do some more embellishment.  On the other hand, my first attempt at curved piecing went surprisingly well (pretend you can't see the puckers bottom right, where I had to replace the spotty strip) and I am completely hooked!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 25 September 2012

You must have seen this inspired competition!  Check out the Etsy shop, Pin your favourite fat quarter bundle, and if you're lucky enough to get the number of repins which equals the dollar cost of your bundle you win it!

Of course I would be very happy if you would consider repinning mine:

Source: via Knotted on Pinterest

and equally happy to return the favour - just let me know where to find you!

[Updated to say I've made my quota - thank you to all who repinned!]

Sunday 23 September 2012

Sunday Stash

I went to the Scottish Quilt show this afternoon.  My MIL and I went last year, and got the feeling that we were both at the very young end of the spectrum -  I don't think much had changed this year!

I guiltily found some of the quilts a bit dingy, but there were some lovely ones (photos to follow) and all of them were interesting and it was worth going, if only because I had the pleasure of meeting Jo Avery of Avery Homestore and Bearpaw which made me wish I had washed my hair and not gone straight from the allotment.  She is such a nice smiley person and her stall looked great - I got to see this embroidered dresden plate cushion and it is even more pretty in real life.

I was probably a bit of a disappointment at any stall because I did try to stick to my fabric diet and "only" came away with these:

Perle cottons (centre) and Flea Market Fancy from Avery Homestore

Japanese fabrics from Purely Patchwork

Variegated Perle 5 (left) from Batiks n Beads

But that's probably the fabric dieter's equivalent of eating a very large chocolate cake.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Fabric, fabric

I have an embargo on buying any fabric at the moment since this month has involved the demise of our washing machine, and will involve the horror of the car's MOT test and inevitable enormous bill. (Having said that there is likely to be a break in the embargo tomorrow when I go to the Scottish Quilt Fair...)

Anyway, I've been using up fabric in my stash to make round bottomed bags.   This one, in yarn-dyed linen, has an EPP Liberty hexagon flower on both sides:

And this one has pockets all around:

They were surprisingly easy and satisfying and I thought I might put some pics on how I made them in an upcoming post.

Even if I manage to rein in the spending tomorrow,  my stash will be enhanced by a very lucky win.  How fab!  There are some other lovely giveaways on the go at the moment:
  • Fluffy Sheep Quilting is offering a giveaway of four fat quarters from the Oh Deer line.
  • Maureen Cracknell Handmade and Canton Village Quiltworks are offering this giveaway of Summer Love fabrics by Pat Bravo
  • There's a giveaway from Marmalade Fabrics over at Plum and June which finishes today - be quick!
I'm just heading over to check out the latest stops on the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop:

Sep 18
       Lina from Smultronbo's Pieceful
       Chase from 1/4" mark

Sep 20
        Jen from Closet Quilter
        Anna from Pink Padme

Sunday 16 September 2012

I ♥ Liberty and Bluejeans

With the last quilt (which I thought of as Sea and Sand but is now christened Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows, thanks to Moira) out of the way I've had a bit of time for another project.

I like the texture and colour of blue denim and finding different ways of recycling old jeans (earlier attempts here) and I love the contrast of tough and delicate fabrics, so I thought I would make a jeans and Liberty cushion cover using reverse applique to showcase favourite scraps.  This is part of the grand plan to try and learn something new with each make.

It took a disastrous first attempt, and a lot of night time pondering but I made this.  I'm so happy with it!

There are some picture-heavy details below if you would like to find out more.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Really Random Thursday

Reasons to be cheerful and random bits and pieces from this week:

While the children were being spoiled rotten at aunty's, we got to go off  hill-walking!   Striding along unencumbered is something I sometimes miss from pre-children days so it felt a bit like that moment of liberation at the airport when you've checked in all your baggage - both baggages in my case:-) - and are free to wander around knowing that it's all taken care of.

There was some of this:

and quite a lot of this:

I love these beautiful textures on a fallen tree:

...and this rock with its signs of the amazing heating, heaving and folding that went on millions of years ago:

Amazing colours reminded me I haven't seen many butterflies this year:

Peacock butterfly

There was a little building in the woods:

with a magic door:

It appeared much bigger inside than outside:

and led, quite unexpectedly, to a balcony:

with a view over a waterfall!

It was like something in Narnia.

Then there was this - can you guess what it is?

It's an ell! This one dates from 1706, and would have been used for measuring fabric, among other things.

Flippin' ell (Sorry. Appalling British pun.)

There was quite a lot of photographing of a finished quilt - a big thanks for some really helpful suggestions and supportive comments while I was dithering about this one:

How to photograph a quilt is an art in itself and Amanda Fabric Engineer's post made me laugh.

And...there was some of this:

Hooray for triple ace cake!

I'm linking up to Live a Colorful Life.   I love this feature - full of glimpses of different lives in different parts of the world.

Live A Colorful Life

Latest stops on the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop are great, as always.  Please check out:

Sep 4
      Lorelei from Mermaid Sews
      Leoni from Strandkorbtraum

Sep 6
       Tessa from The Sewing Chick
       Bethany from Make Me A Quilt

Sep 11
        Anne from SpringLeaf Studios
         Kristy from Cotton Addiction

Sep 13
         Julie from That's Sew Julie
         Chelsea from Pins and Bobbins

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Ta Da!

I know that brown is not everyone's cup of tea, and that there is nothing in the slightest bit cutting edge about this quilt, but it is finished and it is the first quilt I have made for me, and I really like it.  It will fullfil its destiny keeping toast crumbs off the sofa until I make a better one!

After asking advice about whether to add more quilting to the centre section I eventually took it as a sign to stop when I ran out of thread!  The borders are in linen from my local fabric shop and the side ones are quilted in bog standard tan cotton thread.  It was going to be backed with linen but I ran out  (a theme seems to be developing here....) and used cheapo extra-wide sheeting.

Having quilted this and this without it, I am totally smitten with my new walking foot.

There is no binding - I wanted a "quiet" unfussy quilt - then last night I saw this post so I just ripped 2 inch strips from the left-over sheeting, folded them as for usual binding, stitched them to the front using a quarter-inch seam and pulled them all the way to the back.  It was the easiest thing to do except that I made a mess of the miters (can't get a good picture of that;-)

  • Coloured section: Amy Butler, with some Kate Spain and Joel Dewberry thrown in along with a couple of odds and sods
  • Thread: 30 weight variegated Sulky in blue/greens on top and on bobbin
  • Borders: sand linen
  • Thread: 100% cotton in brown
  • Backing: extra wide cotton sheeting
  • Binding: none

Things I learned:

  • Spray basting is just the best!
  • To test-drive a walking foot on scraps of batting in order to get the tension right
  • To use different weight threads for effect 
  • That you don't have to bind a quilt 
  • That I love linen
  • That coffee and quilting is Not a Good Combination
The mark of shame

Linking to Fabric Tuesday
Fresh Poppy Design


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