Category Archives: Uncategorized

And the winner is…

I’ve drawn the winner for the 49 scrap squares that will be the same size but not at all exactly the same fabrics as the above photo…….

The winner is Irene of Hilachas – I shall be emailing you for your address shortly!

Advertisements

Conversation Bag Tweaks

Have you seen the fantastic free pattern for the Conversation Bag over on Sew Sweetness?  I made one! It was also in the first issue of Modern Quilting which is where I worked from and where I saw it first and decided I MUST MAKE ONE.

If you fancy making one too I thought I’d pass on some tips and flag up some parts of the instructions I misinterpreted to prevent others from possibly doing the same (or it could have just been me being an idiot in some cases).

1) You need 34 charm squares, not 33 for the patchwork. I was 3x 2 1/2″ squares short when I made the panels up so I had to cut more.
2) The magazine says the interior side panels (both from interior fabric and interfacing) measure 15 1/2″ x 14″. This is a misprint, it should be 5 1/2″ x 14″. It is correct on the blog.
3) Fusing fabric together- Nothing is mentioned about the fusible fleece for the flap and I left mine out. You could do the same or fuse it on top of the heavy interfacing like it is supposed to be, the same as the patchwork side pieces. The blog is correct, it’s just the magazine again on this one.
4) After the patchwork the sewing allowances are 1/2″ NOT 1/4″. I did not know this til I finished the bag and looked at the blog instructions, which are correct.
5) When you’re putting the magnetic snap in and you “fold in half lengthways”, this means folding so that the two shortest edges are together. This took me an embarrassing length of time to figure out.
6) READ AHEAD on the outer pocket assembly. The top is the rounded edge but it doesn’t say this until after the snap is put in. So obviously I put mine in the wrong way round with the rounded corners at the bottom. That’s why mine has a lace detail… (this doesn’t matter for the blog instructions as ther shape has changed to a much easier rectangle)
7) The magazine says you align the flap with the topstitched interior main panel which is confusing. The blog has a helpful picture and omits the word “topstitched” which makes more sense. You are actually aligning it with the unfinished edge otherwise you will end up sewing your pocket up!
8) When sewing the zip, hand crank over the teeth. I broke two needles.
9) When you’re sewing the zip panel to the main pieces, do pin. I decided not to and my curves are not perfect.
10) It is really hard to sew the Y seams to join the bottom if- like me- you’re not used to 3D sewing, you have been warned!

Other than that though I would say don’t let me put you off. Go by the blog instructions– they’re a lot more accurate and there’s more step by step photos to guide you. It really opens your eyes to how bags are put together and you learn lots of things along the way. And of course you get a pretty bag at the end. It’s also an excellent way to use up scraps and give you an excuse to get a Big Shot with 2 1/2″ die….

I must say I love working with these handles, they really set the bag off and give me an excuse for hand sewing. I bought these from this Etsy shop.

Book Review: Quilt a Gift for Christmas by Barri Sue Gaudet

This review is brought to you by Gina who is kindly guest blogging today. Since we’re in the last 12 weeks of the year it’s time for the C word!

This book covers a wide range of projects for the festive season, though a lot of them could be used for other celebrations with a little bit of interpretation. It has a combination of quilting, embroidery and applique, suitable for all abilities.
 
Here’s a couple of my favourite projects from the book. The Tinsel Tree Scrapbook projects covers a wide range of skills; patchwork, quilting, stitchery and making felt flowers…
 
The finger puppet and gift tag projects are great to do with children and can be made in a few hours…
 
The instructions are clear and concise with great illustrations and wonderful clear photographs. I particularly like the fact that each project has been given a time estimate and where required there are templates. The book gives useful advice about materials, techniques and fabrics, with a list of suppliers should you have problems requiring materials.
 
Great projects for those long dark nights.
 
Quilt a Gift for Christmas is available for £11.99 from RUCraft.
 
***
In other news, I’ve started to conquer my Everest… 25% of the patchwork bit of the other curtain is done…

Fabric cake!

Hey Denyse Schmidt fans- check out this cake!

This cake is by Baker Days, they offered me a free letterbox cake in order for a review. Not one to turn down cake(!), I said yes!

At Baker Days you can personalise designs for all occasions and upload your own photos which are then printed on a cake of your choice. I thought a fabric cake would be a lovely gift for a fellow sewer, a close-up of a quilt block would look stunning too! I chose to photograph some of my Flea Market Fancy fabric- the colours are reasonably accurate, the orange looks a bit dirty on these photos- it’s actually much better in real life.

The letterbox cake starts at £14.99 for a madeira sponge which seems like quite a lot for such a small cake (it’s about the size of a side plate and shallow so that it fits through the letter box as the name would suggest). However this does include first class UK delivery (which was pretty speedy- I sent off my photo and the cake arrived 2 working days later), careful packaging, a lovely tin, a notecard with your chosen gift message and even some balloons and streamers! If you pay a bit extra, other cake flavours are available including chocolate chip.

I must admit, it was pretty tasty- the sponge is, well, spongy, and the jam and slight butter cream used to attach the icing to the top is nice too. And because it’s not a massive cake you don’t feel guilty about eating half in one sitting….

For more information, go to www.bakerdays.com

The final finish-a-long

2012 Finish-A-Long

It’s the last quarter of 2012 so I should really get moving on some of these WIPs! I’ve decided to aim for two completions in Rhonda’s Finish-a-long this time round. The first thing I’d like to finish is the infamous curtain. You’ll be glad to hear I actually started on the first 1/4 of the patchwork last night and have 3 nearly finished blocks already. Alex had made some homemade Port and one glass of that seemed to spur me on somewhat. And I didn’t hate doing it!

So this is where I’m up to. I must finish this because it’s getting dark and I’ll have less sewing time without them finished as a pair instead of one lonely curtain….

The other thing I want to finish is the Giant Granny quilt. I managed another block on a whim this weekend so I have 2 done, though I’m going to maybe have to unpick a bit as my side strips weren’t long enough in places and I have some suspiciously big gaps that may be over 1/4″. I’m aiming for it to be 16 blocks in total with maybe a couple of borders depending on how bored I get. I tend to just blast through the borders as I don’t find them that fun to do when I just want to get something finished which is why I started the UK Borders Agency bee. No plans for any sashing on this one.

Also in this quarter I will have two UK Borders Agency rounds to do, a block and a round (maybe two, not sure if this is monthly) for the new Around the Bend and Across the Pond Free Bee, the Mouthy Stitches tote, a cushion with instructions for a magazine, up to 3 rows for a Row by Row swap and possibly some dog collars and Christmas presents, but I’ve not thought that far ahead yet so I’m probably not going to sew anyone anything this year unless it’s quick and small. I have other WIPs and some precuts I want to play with but I’m already scared of my list- there’s plenty to be getting on with!

I’m also blogging every day this month for Blogtoberfest, so you won’t be able to get rid of me for the whole of October. I make no apologies 😉

Also don’t forget the giveaway that is on til Thursday…

Teeny Weeny giveaway

I cut up all the 2.5″ squares for the scrap vomit swap this weekend, so now each of my three recipients have a random mix of 49 squares each. This seems like an odd number, but each block is 7 wide by 7 deep and the finished size is 14″.

I used my Big Shot for most of it, spurred on by an email from Angela who blogged about her Big Shot just before the weekend. Originally I was skeptical. I have had a Big Shot for a couple of years but I tend to use it for dust gathering felt and stuff, fabric doesn’t seem to work so well, even with the Bigz dies. Recently some quilting dies came out so I thought I would give it a try. One at a time it seemed like a lot of work and a lot of wastage. Then Angela pointed out something that should have been obvious but I hadn’t thought about it. Folding the fabric over and over to cut several at a time! And you know what, it prefers cutting lots of thicknesses at once, there’s only a couple of threads that need snipping and it saves loads of time!

 

 

I would still use a rotary cutter for charm squares and jelly roll strips if you are cutting 2.5″ squares as there’s no waste, however it’s great for irregular scraps.

So this giveaway then…


The prize is a random selection of 49 squares just like I did for the swap, some good some bad and definitely not the same as the picture. You could use them in your own scrap vomit quilt (See Katy’s post here if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about) or whatever you like. I’m going to make mine into randomly placed floating blocks I think so I don’t need as many and I can practise my large negative space quilting…

I will be cutting your squares from anything in here- and you won’t know what you will get til it arrives!

Just leave a comment here to enter before 23.59 GMT on Thursday 4th October and I will draw the winner from there.

For an extra entry…
1) Tweet the giveaway linking to this page and leave me a separate comment saying you have
2) Like my page on Facebook and leave me a separate comment saying you have

Quilt and Stitch Village

I’ve decided to enter another quilt competition and wondered if you also might like to?

The Quilt and Stitch Village 2013 is at Uttoxeter Racecourse (not too far from me!) from 26th-28th April 2013. I know this sounds like it’s absolutely ages away, but if you plan to make a new quilt especially for the show like I do, it’s really not all that long!

It costs £5 to enter (plus return postage costs) and you must complete the entry form and pay before the end of January. Categories are for quilts but there are also embroidery categories as well if that’s more your bag. Categories include wall hangings, innovative quilts and bed quilts, plus there’s a category for kids too. It seems a lot simpler than the Festival of Quilts and that’s not a bad thing! International and group entries are also welcome. It’s run by Sally Stephens who was the editor of Popular Patchwork during my time on Popular Crafts, so I feel like I sort of “know” her even though we only met a couple of times. More details can be found on the website HERE.

I’m planning on doing a pictorial quilt for the Innovative category (of course), but instead of my usual applique style I’m thinking of a pieced pixelated one…. but not sure of the subject matter yet! I thought of maybe making one of a musician or an actor, but nothing cliched like Audrey Hepburn, James Dean or The Beatles, someone more modern but will be iconic in the future. The only people I can think of right now are Morgan Freeman or Stephen Fry.

Would that be weird? I have other ideas if so, what do you think?

Back on my feet

I’m back- I’ve not managed to get back in my sewing room though. I think the smell of my hedgehog (or the air freshener I have because of him) is affecting my head which is still a bit delicate. He is going to live with Melissa as of tomorrow when she’s back off holiday so I will be giving him a little bath tonight. I tried to do some hand sewing for the next round of the UK Borders Agency yesterday but I got a stinker of a headache (maybe I should wear my glasses at home?) had a nap for a couple of hours and woke up feeling like I’d fallen out of a first floor (that’s 2nd floor to you US readers) window! My back and head and neck were so sore!

So I think I will be back properly sewing this weekend hopefully. I still want to finish my bag and of course there is always THAT curtain to sew. I also want to unpick the binding on the Giant George quilt and stitch it on by hand. I’m also working on starting up a Folksy shop selling dog collars and leads- you know, because I need another mini-business like a hole in the head. Of course this meant I had to draw something…

Mr B. Fletcher’s Dog Belt Emporium…. Fletcher’s collar was nicknamed the “belt of the ancestors” as it’s leather with running greyhounds on it, however I think that is no more as on reflection it was bought from a market stall at a game fair, not very heirloomy! B stands for Boo, in case you were wondering.

I’m doing clip collars and buckle ones with eyelets and I have 3 I can list so far. I’m waiting til I have a few of each style that I am totally confident in and then I shall be listing!

In case things go quiet here…

… I’m ill and it’s the weekend. Yesterday I had a bad cold, this morning I could manage a quick trip to the shop and to do a tiny bit of sewing, now this afternoon I can’t bear to sit in my sewing chair and I don’t know what to do with myself in general. I’ve still got the cold but I am hot and my brain is fuzzy, I keep dropping things and thinking I’m going to be sick. My eyes are gluing themselves together , my lungs taste like blood and I am so very deaf and disorientated. I’m having weird dreams and I need to be editing a book I promised I’d do but I don’t feel like I’m here or can concentrate long enough to do the job. Everything is a struggle- I’m alone this weekend and I need to build myself up just to take Fletcher outside as there’s no one else who can do it (I wish he could just walk himself). Because Alex isn’t here, Fletcher is whiny.  The back of my head is heavy and I feel like just rolling my head back and sitting slumped slack jawed doing nothing. What little TV I can hear irritates me. I need to clean and tidy as people are coming round late tomorrow (and generally because that pile of tissues isn’t going to sort itself out) but it is using all my energy.

I think this might be what flu is like and I don’t know how long its going to take to get over it properly, but I might end up set back from making things and have nothing to say for a few days. So now you know why. Normal service will resume when I’m better.

Book Review: Pre-cut Combo Quilts by Debra Fehr Greenway

This review is brought to you by Angela who is kindly guest blogging today. Her blog Heart of Charnwood can be found HERE.

When the lovely Kerry wanted someone to do a book review of this book, I jumped at the chance. I love quilting books, and the chance to have a good snoop around a new one was just too good to resist. So, what can I tell you about this book?

Well, the basic premise of the book is quilts made using pre-cuts (surprise), i.e Jelly Rolls, Charm Squares, Layer Cakes etc, which on first glance looks like its been done before, but this book offers something (Ithink) is a little bit different. And thats because it offers the opportunity to use Fat Quarters instead, so if you don’t have the requisite pre-cuts there are alternative FQ cutting guides.

Now for me, that would be perfect, as I don’t buy many pre-cuts, and when I see fabric I love, I buy a few FQ’s from the range, and then sometimes don’t know exactly what to do with them.

Another good aspect of this book, is the final section, which covers the use of panels.

I have a couple of these too, which I thought would make fun, easy baby quilts, but I hadn’t been inspired to use them, until now.

I think my favourite quilt design in the book is Pre-Cuts Potpourri, with its varying sizes of squares, which i think would look great with a good mix of solids, some cute embroidered squares, and some pastel patterned fabrics.

Some of the actual fabrics aren’t exactly my style, I prefer a bigger mix of solid fabrics, but there are some really great designs and the book is very well written, which means it’s well worth a look.

Pre-cut Combo Quilts is available from RUCraft, currently at £12.74.