Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 Part 2

As it turns out, returning to work after maternity leave, juggling part time work and motherhood, moving house, sewing AND blogging are pretty incompatible, at least for me, anyway. I've been getting my fill of the social side of this hobby of ours via IG (and there's a whole debate to be had there about the role of social media....) but I wanted to record the last 6 month's work here, for my own benefit if nothing else!

There was a cushion for my nephew Jack - this makes a full set with all 4 of them having their own:

A snuggly little blanket for a school friend's little boy:

This was backed in minky from Plush Addict, so soft!

A little basket for O's gorgeous little friend's first birthday - these two are little terrors together, but super cute!

On the theme of little makes, I made a drawstring bag for a friend's 30th, filled with chocs of course.

My slight obsession with Blueberry Park / Karen Lewis fabric continued with the first of two lampshades for our new bedroom:
All those seams to keep tidy were a bit of a nightmare, might EPP the next one!

I finally finished the Cottage Quilt, a St Louis 16 patch made with a small palate of my Flurry winnings. It hasn't photographed very well, but there is more definition in the neutrals than it might seem! It's backed in some fabric that we found in Hub's grandma's stash, and bound in a print from Tsuru (I think)

(please excuse the sideways pics, don't know what that's about!)

My one and only Christmas quilt was for my Gran, who's 93 next week. It's made from a layer cake that Mum chose, and backed in a Riley Blake brushed flannel. As Gran doesn't like anything heavy on her legs, I left out the wadding and just bagged it out, with some hand quilting to tie the layers together.

And last but not least, two Geranium dresses to finish the year for two lovely little girls:
(No finished photos of this one, but I'm proud of these French seams!)

Here's hoping that 2015 brings more finished quilts!

Wishing all my friends a very happy and prosperous New Year, with lots of sewing,

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Butcher's apron for the family baker

I really don't know why I've been stalling on this for so long, this apron was a really quick and satisfying finish.

Dad asked for a butchers apron months ago, and in fact I think it was on my first FAL list as it was supposed to be his Father's Day present. He requested a navy and white stripe fabric, and I found this heavyweight fabric in Rolls and Rems in Edmonton for £4/m - bargainous!

I added straps made from measuring tape print ribbon - chosen by Mum and perfect for a draughtsman.

Dad has always been enthusiastic about science, so I thought this print would do nicely for a little secret pocket lining.

I'm looking forward to our next baking session - his lemon drizzle cake is legendary!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

FQR 2014 Recap

Better late than never....

FQR this year fell on the weekend before I went back to work after maternity leave (albeit for three days before the holidays started), so I was a bit unsure about leaving the boy for the day. However, FQR was so relaxing and energising that I really shouldn't have worried.

I'm so late with this, I'm sure that you've heard all the details before, but suffice to say, the atmosphere was great, the event really well organised and the freebies very well received!

My first class of the day was the Wiksten Tank class with the ever patient Rachel. We worked through break and lunch to get the top as close to finished as possible, and I managed to get the French seams completed. Considering that we spent a long time fitting the pattern (which worked out as a mix of XS, S and M on me!), and that I cut my cheap fabric on the wrong fold, I think that's really quite admirable. Rachel deserves a big thank you for the number of times that she answered the same stupid question, and my classmates were wonderful too. Di was particularly good at keeping me on track!

My second class was Large HSTs with the incredibly inspirational Thomas Knauer. We spent the first section of the class listening intently to his theory and philosophy of quilting, and had a mini trunk show of some quilts in his current series.

The blocks came together really quickly, and the layout possibilities are endless. I got really quite giddy as I was rearranging my blocks - I certainly think that I provided more entertainment for Kelly, Sarah, Jo and the rest! I love the offsets within the blocks which emerge. I've nearly finished the quilt top, which is ridiculously quick for me. It's going to end up as a wedding present so I'm hoping that it'll progress quickly from now on too.

The social side of the day ran really smoothly this time, and I really enjoyed spending time with far too many lovely people to mention. I was gutted to have to duck out before the end of the festivities, but I knew that I would be up early with the boy!

We move house this weekend, but I'm very much hoping that I can show you a finished quilt and top in the very near future, because FQR really did leave me feeling excited about sewing again.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Honest List - FAL Q3 version

My posts are like buses at the minute, none for ages....

Here's my updated list, unsurprisingly it's very very similar to last quarter. I imagine that these will get carried over, but if they're not on the list, they don't count! (cf the knit skirts - written on the paper list, not blogged because I thought there was no chance of getting one done.... Reader, I made three.)

1. St Louis 16 patch - I finished this top during Q1, and have the fabric picked out for the backing and binding 
One of many jobs that will need to be completed after we move due to lack of space - if we're not in by the end of September I will be seriously unhappy!

2., 3., 4. And 5. Giant Star Quilt - 4 of these are needed at some point, and I've had the fabric for ages, so hopefully there'll be some progress during Q2
Feature fabrics have been cut, more Kona Bone is on its way. This is the sneak peek sent to the parents.

6. Quilt for the little man - every else is getting one! I've got lots of novelty prints and I'm planning to use the Picture Box pattern from SewFairyFace
No progress so far.

7. Apron for Dad - needed for his Father's Day present, he wants a butcher's style apron, I'm going to use a Martha Stewart pattern
The fabric I'd bookmarked is our of stock, now on the hunt for navy butchers stripe cotton.

8. Hub's tshirt quilt - I found this buried in the WIP pile,  half pieced - I'm quite tempted to unsew some of it
No progress so far

9. My sampler Cuzco quilt - I made 3 blocks last year and would love to finish 
Not on this one was either, but I did stroke the fabric the other night!

10. Liberty DWR EPP quilt - made from fabric inherited from Hub's grandma, I've got the EPP papers ready. I think this might be my new car project when the crochet is finished 
Very little done on this

11. Scout camp blanket - a never ending project in reality, but it'd be nice to get it up to date with the pile of badges from the last few years sewn on
Halfway there!

12. Nephew's cushion - this is so nearly done, just needs the last finishing touches.

13. Wedding present for a couple who have requested a handmade present - I've (literally!) dusted off the embroidery from my FQR class last year. They get married on July 26th so may be getting an IOU...

14. and 15. More minky blankets for school friends and childhood neighbours who are pregnant. This baby boom is getting silly!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap

PARTNER - I'm sorry that I forgot to add my email to your card, I hope that you received this safely

This one wasn't on my FAL list, but I couldn't resist signing up for the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap. It's gone in the post today, so I can't say too much about what my partner requested, but hopefully they will think that it fits their request!

In a bit of a first for me, I didn't really follow a pattern and I enjoyed the freedom of deciding what  would fit in with what my partner wanted. I'm not definitely adding a medallion quilt to my "maybe I'll make this one day" list.

The mini finishes at about 18.5“sq, and is made of a mixture of red and LV prints from my stash and from the Village Haberdashery's stall at the Square in the Fair in Highgate last month.

My partner is a fan of FMQ and I included a bit of pebbling in the centre, but stuck with my favourite wavy line quilting for the outside edges (after my first attempts had to be unpicked!) Now practice is definitely required!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014 - Hello!

I proved that I have no self control whatsoever, and caved on the FQR tickets as soon as the day tickets were released, so I really should introduce myself.

Last year I looked like this at Retreat:

(actually, I think I was a bit more whale - like)

This year I'm a bit slimmer but a lot more sleep deprived. (hence why I've not joined in any swaps this year - you can excuse forgetting that you've joined a swap once, but I don't think I could get away with it twice!)

I'll be there all day Saturday, taking Rachel's Wiksten class and the Large HST class. I'm a lot more shy than I look so please come and say hello! Oh, and I think I've persuaded Hubs that I can stay out for dinner too, so let me know if anyone has plans.

Friday, 6 June 2014

The first item for my new sewing room wall: Starburst

As mentioned before, we're in the midst of moving home. What I may not have told you is that I'm going to have half the spare room / loft conversion as my very own sewing room!

Job number one (in my head anyway....) is hanging some mini quilts, and this little one will be the first up on that wall.  

I started this in January 2013, and finished it right at the end of Q1, although the phone photos I took were rubbish, hence why I'm sharing again. The pattern is Six White Horse's Lone Starburst paper pieced, and the fabric a mix of my Simply Solids Stash Crew, and various scraps and bits from swaps.

I hand quilted and machine quilted this for the texture  although this means that it sits quite proud. Nothing that a few drawing pins won't fix!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Baby baby!

Two quick finishes, both from my FAL list:

Baby blanket number 1:

(please ignore the toes!)

My first crochet finish, worked on at FQR last year, and ripped out four weeks ago when I realised that I had forgotten to chain on at the end of each row - rooky mistake!

Baby blanket number 2:

This is made of three cuts from Sherbet Pips, backed with minky and with applique in Flurry from my winnings from Lily's Quilts. This had to be done twice, as I stupidly stuck the seam ripper through the first time.

One has been hand delivered, one by post - which is probably a good thing, as I don't think my broodiness could take two tiny babies in one week! (and that's from a woman who's vowed to have no more.....)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Progress update on the crazy list of madness....

Even though I wrote down everything I could possibly think of that I might want to sew this quarter ( , I have managed to work on a number of things that I didn't think to include... More on these later. For now, here's an update on what I've done that does count.

1. Economy block panel done for the cushion , just needs sashing, quilting, embroidering and turning into a cushion (just!)

2. I had start the Crochet blanket again after making a pretty fatal error, but we're nearly done, which is lucky as the recipient should be born by Friday at the latest!

5. The minky baby blanket was almost totally rethought when I ordered the wrong colour of minky, but plan B went into action and it's all done bar the applique initial.

10. I've cut one rings worth of fabric for the EPP quilt, I think this is a long term thing.....

11. The pile of badges still left to add to the blanket might look huge, but believe me, it's much smaller than it was!

I don't know how much progress I'll be able to make on the quilt front, but it's for a good reason - I'll have much more space to baste them when we move and I get the spare room to play in, so I'm saving that job! 

PS - can anyone recommend a better Android App than Blogger? It's driving me crazy with its refusal to organise pictures properly!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Honest List

Part of the power of the FAL ably hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle is the accountability - at the end of the quarter, I'll have to fess up to what I've finished (or not!) Last time I was quietly cautious with list - this time I'm linking up everything that's eligible.

I wrote this list a few nights ago, when the boy was asleep and I was staring at the ceiling (first time ever!) but some of these projects are still in my head. Here's the list of WIPs that are at least at the fabric / pattern chosen stage.

1. Cushion for my new nephew - fabrics picked, this will be another Economy Block cushion
2. Crochet blanket - carried over from Q1
3. St Louis 16 patch - I finished this top during Q1, and have the fabric picked out for the backing and binding
4. Giant Star Quilt - 4 of these are needed at some point, and I've had the fabric for ages, so hopefully there'll be some progress during Q2
5. Blanket for baby H - I'm going to use the yellow chevron fabric that I bought last year for a swap but couldn't use - maybe with a minky backing?
6. Quilt for the little man - every else is getting one! I've got lots of novelty prints and I'm planning to use the Picture Box pattern from SewFairyFace
7. Apron for Dad - needed for his Father's Day present, he wants a butcher's style apron, I'm going to use a Martha Stewart pattern
8. Hub's tshirt quilt - I found this buried in the WIP pile,  half pieced - I'm quite tempted to unsew some of it
9. My sampler Cuzco quilt - I made 3 blocks last year and would love to finish
10. Liberty DWR EPP quilt - made from fabric inherited from Hub's grandma, I've got the EPP papers ready. I think this might be my new car project when the crochet is finished
11. Scout camp blanket - a never ending project in reality, but it'd be nice to get it up to date with the pile of badges from the last few years sewn on

Amongst all this, we're in the process of selling our house - but I'm also going back to work in September, so this is probably my best chance of a very productive quarter!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sneaking in at the last minute - a Q1 finish

Last minute finish here - teething, a horrible cold and moving the boy to his own room has halted the productivity recently. I'll come back later with better photos and more detail, but here's the overview:

Paper piecing template - Six White Horses

Fabric - various Kona solids from the Simply Solids Stash Crew,  Kona Bone and a range of different charm squares from swaps. (Plus premade binding, because sometimes you have to cheat)

Quilting - a mix of straight line quilting to echo the stars and a bit of hand quilting in the white stripe of the stars.

This is finish number 2 of a possible 4 - although I'm not really counting one of the cushions as it's owner has only just made his entrance into the world, so it's not too bad!

Monday, 31 March 2014

FAL Cushion #1

It's become a bit of a tradition for me to make cushions for my nieces and nephews (and its on my FAL list too), so when I got the phone call the other week, I went straight to the scrap pile to pull fabric.

I've been trying to be realistic about my aims,  so I decided to make the cushion out of economy blocks rather than adding an economy block quilt to my list of quilts-that'll-never-get-made.

As I was using scraps, I went with a paper pieced pattern so that I could use smaller pieces, especially as I wanted to add some pieces from her older cousin's first birthday quilt.  With quite a neat zip insertion (for me!) and a slightly dodgy bit of personalisation, this was ready for delivery before the little lady was two weeks old.

I might even get the second cushion completed by the Q1 deadline, as we've just got the phone call to say that our extended family has been extended even further!

Finish Along 2014

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Winner (and how not to wean your baby)

The boy was very helpful today and helped me choose a winner for my giveaway - he very nearly had his first taste of food too! I know that they say to avoid anything too sweet so that they don't get a sweet tooth, but I'm not sure that paper is a great choice...

He chose Kelly from

so I'm off to do some fabric shopping!

PS - still no sewing to share,  the house hunt is now on so my machine is hidden :-(

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

WIP Wednesday and a Birthday Giveaway

First things first - a progress report:

The first item on my WIP list, a cushion for my new niece, is complete, but I'll share that when I have access to a better computer and don't have to use the Blogger app...

I've also been working on my paper pieced star quilt. The blocks are finished, the quilt is basted and I'm working on a mix of hand and machine quilting. I was very well behaved and switched to hand quilting when I needed to do some paper piecing and didn't want to wreck my nice shiny new quilting needle :-) I was less well behaved (more like lazy) when I decided not to vac up before basting and managed to get avocado from lunch on my quilt - oops!

It's my birthday today, and I have to admit that I'm a big birthday person - I love birthdays whether it's mine or someone else's. My Mum's birthday is tomorrow, so I'm quite used to sharing celebrations.

On this note, and because I've not done it in ages, I thought I'd have a giveaway to celebrate. I love charm packs and haven't had much chance for fabric shopping recently (I wonder why!) so, I'd love it if you could tell me what charm pack you'd pick if you were buying yourself a little present. Next Wednesday at 8pm I'll randomly pick one comment and buy two packs, one for me and one for my winner. Happy birthday!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Progress on the WIP list in January

January has proved to be a more productive month than expected - it's amazing how much more you can do when Bedtime suddenly jumps forward 2 hours!

The paper pieced Lonestar blocks are now all finished bar one (ignoring the fix required on the orange block after I stuck my finger through the one place where the seam allowance was too small....)

I've also nearly finished the Seaside St Louis 16 patch quilt top, all this needs is an additional border of Kona Snow to bring it up to perfect snuggling size. I'm too uptight for a random quilt, and I'm trying to use my Dashwood Studios winnings wisely,  so I had to improvise the centre block to avoid an odd number of different blocks. There is more contrast on the middle block than appears here! I'm regretting not putting this on my WIP list,  as I think that it may well be finished before the end of the quarter.

Please ignore the horrific photos,  our camera is in Manchester and my mobile won't switch on :-(

Linking up to Lily's Quilts and Kristy @ Quiet Play

Friday, 17 January 2014

WIP - an optimistic list!

After yesterday's post,  I thought I would share some of the plans....  I'm not linking up the bits that I have absolutely no hope of finishing, so this list is a lot shorter than the one  in my head!

Item 1 (and possibly 2): cushions for the new nieces/nephews
I can't start these until the wee ones are born - they'll be cousins,  not siblings - but the plan is to use the fabric I bought last week for their quilts,  and to make 4 x economy blocks (jumping on the bandwagon in a manageable way!

Item 2: Wall hanging
I made 4 of these lonestar blocks last year with my Simply Solids Stash Club fabric. I was aiming to make 12 blocks,  but let's face it,  that's not going to happen! I'm thinking about adding a red and navy pair to finish it off.

Item 3: crocheted blanket
This was originally started for the boy,  but he has a million and one blankets,  so it's going to my BFF's baby - we really are having a bit of a baby boom!

The WIP list is much,  much longer,  but I'm trying to be realistic! Linking up with Katy at The Littlest Thistle

NB - Sorry for the crappy IG screen shots - can't figure out how to get Flickr to work on the new tablet!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Obstacles to creativity - or Embracing the Slow

The lovely Catherine at Knotted Cotton runs the Slow Bloggers linky once a month, and I try to link up when I can. This month's post has really got my brain going...

At the minute, I have one major obstacle to my creativity - his name begins with O and he's 14 weeks old! I love him to bits, and thought I was well prepared for motherhood - but nothing could prepare me for just how big the shift in my life would be. Yes, I worked full time (and damn hard) before he was born, but that was a stroll in the park compared to this full time job!  I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever sew or crochet or read ever again.

But if I think about it, he isn't actually an obstacle - if anything, I'm more creative than before. Yes, I've done very little sewing, but I've planned out a number of things to make him, and have really enjoyed thinking about what he, with his little emerging personality, will like. I've become so much more efficient with my time, and have used quick naps to prep for the next opportunity to be creative.

This feels like a very personal post, but I think it'll help me focus on making the most of this new creativity (even if it is just making up new verses of The Wheels On The Bus!) and help me enjoy the many hours spent staring at his little face. I guess he's the one "make"  that I'll never top!