Tuesday, 12 January 2016

FAL 2016: where I write a list full of the intention of finishing them all within three months.....

Lets get straight to it shall we...

 1. Heart Cushion

 Have a top. Have a back. Have a zip. Been like this for almost a year.

2. Fishy Pincushion

A leftover from a swap I offered this up in a giveaway on instagram when I reached 400 followers. I did warn Ange that she could be in for a long wait for her winnings...

3. Scarf/Shawl Thingimegib

Mindless knitting in front of the TV at night. Think I'll just keep going until I come to the end of the ball.

4. Benji's Quilt

Need to finish his name and then I can call this finished.

5. Get Shirty Mark Three

As well as gifting three quilt tops on Christmas Day I gave my husband a bag full of cut up shirts and promised that they would be a finished quilt in time for his birthday at the end of March.

6. Siblings Together Home Sweet Home

Last year I promised Mary that I'd turn these donated blocks into a quilt for Siblings Together. I have the backing ready. I WILL get this done this quarter.

7. Siblings Together Double Heart Block

I was Bee Mama for Siblings Together Bee 2 last May and today was the first time I've laid all the blocks out together. Looking forward to this one.

8. La Passacaglia

Being the sheep that I am I had to have a go at this. But I knew when I started that I'd be a one cog wonder. I've actually finished this cog (I've used an old picture) but have NO idea what to do with it. Any suggestions what to do with a single 22" block?

So that's it! I'm pretty hopeful about numbers 1-4 as there's not much left to do until they're finished but the three whole quilts? We'll cross out fingers for those ones shall we? And as for the LaPas? I suppose it just depends on when(if) inspiration strikes.

Linking up with Cindy and the gang (have you seen how many bloggers are hosting it this year?) for the Finish-A-Long.

2016 FAL

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Hello! Is there anybody out there?

May? I haven't posted since May? How did that happen?

I thought that I'd try and break myself back into blogging gently with a short post showing one of the quilts that I'm working on at the moment.

Around two weeks before Christmas I decided that it was about time that I made Benji a quilt.

Shortly after he was born I was nursing him on the sofa when the doorbell rang and Endaf practically threw a package at me. "What have you bought this time" (He was laughing when he asked so I don't think he was too cross). The thing was I hadn't bought anything. Despite spending hours of nursing time looking at 'boy fabric' on the iPad I hadn't bought a thing!

The delightful Mary had sent Benji a gift! There were two bibs (that we're still using today), some chocolate coins and some large fabric scraps. The card explained that after having two girls, when her little boy was born Mary spent hours looking for 'boy fabric' online. The scraps were what were left of the bundle that she bought to make his first quilt with. I really couldn't believe that someone that I hadn't even met (then, we've since met at FofQ in Birmingham) could be so kind. The girls polished the chocolate coins off almost immediately, the bibs were put to use and the fabric was placed in my 'will turn these into something sometime' pile. And there they stayed for over a year.

I took some of the traffic or vehicle themed fabrics and cut them into different width/length strips. I also fussy cut two orange buses. I just laid them out on the floor moving things around until I was happy and then filled the gaps with white. I managed to cut and sew a quilt top in a day!

I had the vague notion of finishing it before Christmas but as soon as I'd pieced the (rather simple) top I decided that the girls needed a new quilt each too. I ended up gifting three quilt tops on Christmas morning with the promise that they would be finished quilts by the time they went back to school (1.5 weeks).

I actually managed it! It's amazing how much sewing you can get done when you aren't tied to the school run routine (having a freezer full of pre-prepared meals really helped too). All three children slept under quilted and bound quilts the night before the girls went back to school.

Notice how I said quilted and bound instead of finished? I really did finish the girls' quilts and hope to show them to you in their own posts in the not too distant future. But Benji's quilt? I wanted to add some hand stitching........he doesn't start school for over a year so I've got some time, right?

I'm adding little area's of hand quilting in between the machine quilted straight(ish) lines. A few flying geese here, an orange 'road' there. All in different colours and different thread weights. I have no plan, I'm just going to add little bits if and when the mood takes me.

There's also the small matter of Benji's name. I've started stem stitching it using Aurifil 12wt. It's taking quite a bit longer than the perle #8 I've used in the past but as I can use a smaller needle than with the perle I'm finding it much easier and more pleasurable.

I haven't got a deadline for finishing the hand quilting, I might keep adding to it for years to come! But I would like to finish Benji's name before the end of January, it just looks incomplete with only a letter and a half stitched!

I could apologise for the wrinkles in the pictures but they come from Benji actually using the quilt when I'm not stitching. MUST . NOT . LEAVE . NEEDLE . IN . QUILT .

Scraptastic Tuesday

Linking up with Nicky and Leanne for Scraptastic Tuesday - it's quite funny as Mary's linked up a project where she used what she had left of the scraps she sent me! Go have a look.....

Thursday, 7 May 2015

WIP Wednesday - Slow going

I keep on meaning to do a WIP Wednesday post. I plan to write the post. I write it in my head. And then, before I get a chance to turn round, it's Thursday!

Today has been one of those days.

This is what the area next to my sewing machine looks like right now.

Terrible night time shot as per usual!
I've just finished cutting out April's (yes I know it's May, I'd better not tell you that I only finished March's yesterday) blocks for Siblings Together Bee 2. I started at 9.30am. It's now 24.00. Obviously I've done one or two other things in between but still, a whole day to cut out two measly blocks? Oh, well, if I aim to draw the diagonal lines for the corner setting triangles tomorrow I might actually get to sew them together on Friday.

The main reason I have for wanting to finish April's blocks (apart from the obvious feeling of guilt about being late again) is so that I can get on with the heart cushions. I keep the block parts in the drawer of my temporary sewing table thinking that I might finish the odd heart here and there but it isn't happening. I need to just sit down and sew!

Oh, and my Kaffe Snowball is still waiting to have it's binding attached. Dealine for that one is May 14th. Right, I'd better get my skates on.

And look, it's only gone and turned into Thursday again!

Linking up with Lee 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And Shanna and Melissa as my heart cushions are my goal for May's ALYoF.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Double Heart Block

Remember those Birthday Cushions on my FAL Q2 list? (Still haven't finished them) I'm making them using this tutorial by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew. Whilst I was piecing the hearts I got an idea, played a little with Touchdraw and some graph paper and came up with this.

And so the Double Heart Block is born.

I must say I rather like it! As my month in the Siblings Together 2 bee was coming up I thought that this would make a nice quilt for a tween/teenage girl and put writing a tutorial of sorts on my 'to do' list. Hey! Look, it's the second of the month in which I'm Queen Bee and I'm finally getting around to it.

Anyway, here goes.

Makes one 12.5"sq (unfinished) block

Cutting Instructions:

You need three different fabrics for each block, although I suppose you could use the same fabric for the inner heart and the border.

Fabric A (Inner Heart)
  Two 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
Fabric B  (Large Heart)
  Two 3" x 4.5" rectangles
  Two 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
  Two 2" x 4.5" rectangles
  Two 2.5" squares
  Four 1"squares

Fabric C (Border)
  Two 12.5" x 2.5" strips
  Two 8.5" x 2.5" strips
  Two 4.5" squares
  Four 1.5" squares

1. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of your 1" and 2.5" squares in Fabric B. I tend to draw an extra line half an inch away from the original line on any squares 2.5" or over so that I get bonus HSTs. Place the squares wrong sides together as shown above, taking care to make sure that both sets are mirror images of themselves (that the drawn lines on the bottom squares point in different directions)

2. Sew along these lines.

3. Trim 0.25" away from the sewn lines and press open (or to the side if that's your preference)

DON'T sew the two halves together yet. This is where the double heart block starts to differ from Allison's original.

4. Sew a 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle to the outside edge of both half block with a scant 0.25" seam. Again, seams can be pressed either open or to the side.

5.  Now add the other Fabric B rectangles as shown above. Press as preferred.

6. Repeat Steps 1-3 adding your Fabric C squares to your half heart blocks.

7. At this point we need to sew the two half together. I used pins to match the points on the hearts but forgot to get a picture.

8. Add your border strips.

And Voilà! Your have a Double Heart Block.

I'm going to ask my bee mates to go bright or go home with their blocks and hopefully I'll have a cheerful hugable quilt ready for July when this year's Siblings Together camps start.

Thursday, 30 April 2015


I finished something!

And I was only two days late.

Last time I showed you my #UKminiswap mini quilt it looked a little like this.

I'd asked on Instagram whether my partner would prefer to have the rainbow hexies or vintage hexies on their mini. The hope was that I would post progress shots of both in order to keep my partner guessing but who was I kidding? I'd left it to the last minute and only had time to make the one mini.

I started by basting my background fabric and my backing fabric to some wadding, I know that this might sound strange but I feel that when I'm hand appliquéing having a bit more body to the background fabric makes it easier for me to keep things straight. I then used a glue pen to place the hexies before appliquéing them down.

I was mainly inspired by this pin on my partner's Pinterest board and Nicole's recent activities. As much as I love Nicole's method of appliquéing the hexies I felt that doing it by hand would give me a bit more freedom to be creative with my quilting. I started quilting by adding one line of hand stitches around the flower using Aurifil No12. As much as I love the effect of hand quilting with Perle No8 I find the Aurifil much easier to work with whilst still giving a similar effect.

I then left the mini for a couple of days as I really didn't know how do carry on with the quilting. I half fancied doing some FMQ but since getting the frame I haven't attempted any FMQ the traditional way and didn't fancy spending hours reverse stitching so close to the sending deadline. In the end I decided to stick to straight lines with my walking foot using the hexies as a guide.

I also used a Hera marker to show where I needed to turn the quilt. After I'd added five lines of quilting I felt that it needed a little something extra. I had a tiny bit of a variegated Aurifil No12 in blue and added a single line of stitches around the star but not to the 'shoots'.

I love No12 and my machine deals with it really well, my only regret is that I didn't use a different colour. I think that the shade of blue I used and the fact that it's variegated makes the stitches look like I've marked the quilting lines with a washable pen and not bothered to wash it out. I really need to get more colours in this thread! (I only have three different colours at the moment, unfortunately I've not been able to find any UK stockists)

Before even starting on the quilting I'd been head scratching about the binding. On the sign up form for the swap we were asked for our favourite designers and/or fabric lines. Out of all those listed by my partner I only had one print! And that was the bias stripe from Scrumptious. I love a stripy binding but wanted the mini to have a more definite frame so toyed with the idea of adding a 'flange'.

I posted the above picture on Instagram and hoped that my partner would choose for me. Unfortunately she didn't comment but the majority vote was for the Dark Violet Kona at the bottom. This is what my gut had told me to go with too but I still liked the idea of adding a flange. Mainly as the quilt was quite simple and I though that it would add an extra little something.

In the end I decided to go for the Dark Violet but added a C+S Netorious in Plummy flange.

I followed Julie from Jaybird Quilts' tutorial and found it quite easy, however, if I was to add a flange again in future I think I'd start with 0.75" instead of 1" strips as I'd prefer it if the binding was wider than the flange.

So there you have it, my finished mini.

And I really must say I rather like it.

I love the way the dense(ish) quilting around the hexies makes them poofy.

I love the extra touch of the hand quilting. And that by carefully trimming the quilt I managed to keep that tiny bit of blue stitching there.

And I love that I managed to add a star to the quilting without actually quilting a star.

I added a label and to make it a little more 'me' I wrote it in Welsh.

Made with love

for ********
by @patshyncatrin.
Catrin Lewis
April 2015

Pity I ruined it by forgetting my first name!

I've had to cover the recipients name as although I posted it last Friday (the 24th - six whole days ago) my partner still hasn't confirmed that she'd received it. I really hope that this is because it's being held hostage in her local sorting office and not because the idiots have lost it. Or worse still, my partner has received it and doesn't like it so hasn't bothered to post on instagram!!!!!

I really, really, really hope that isn't the case as I loved this mini. It's my favourite make so far - a simple design where the quilting is important as the piecing (although there wasn't any piecing in this one, you know what I mean, right?) In fact, I'd say it's the most 'me' thing I've made so far, maybe not such a good thing considering we were supposed to be making to our partner's taste! Luckily I've already got number two ready to go and I'm keeping the next one. All. Mine.

Hopefully I'll get around to writing about the little extras I added to the parcel. I enjoyed making them almost as much as the mini itself.

Linking up with Shanna and Melissa as this was my April goal for ALYoF.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

And with Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday as I finished this on Friday. Last Frday but still Friday ;o)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Finish Along 2015 Q2 Goal Setting

I'm not sure why I'm bothering to enter the Finish Along as last quarter I only completed one item from my list! I suppose it does make me blog about the few finishes I manage though so here we go again.

1 & 2. UKminiswap Quilts

I've made a tiny bit of progress in that I've appliquéd the hexies onto one version and added a tiny bit of handquilting so all I've got left to do is to applique the vintage sheet version, quilt and bind both, make at least one handmade extra and get it in the post. Hey, I've until the 22nd (eight days) so completely doable, right?

3. Kaffe Snowball.

I've very nearly finished the quilting on this one, after MONTHS of procrastination when it came to deciding how to quilt it I went with a simple stipple.....

I have to finish the quilting on this so that I can take the Juki off the frame to quilt my mini quilts.

I went up to the attic this morning to take a new picture of this one and actually ended up finishing the quilting. I even managed to trim it!

I already have the binding ready to go so there is hope that I can finish this one.

4 & 5. Heart cushions.

Same old story, took the girls to birthday parties empty handed with the promise of a gift one day. Two months go by and the girls are still waiting!

I need to finish pressing the half-blocks, turn them into blocks, sash them, turn them into tops, baste, quilt, sort out backings and then turn them into cushions.

6. Irish Chain Cushion.

Same story as above. I've been using these as leaders and enders whilst piecing the heart cushions. As soon as the heart cushions are finished I'll concentrate on this.

7. Siblings Together Home Sweet Home Quilt.

You may have noticed that Mary, Jo and Susy put a call out for these great Home Sweet Home blocks. They were hoping to get around 150 blocks so that they could make five quilts. So far the have received over 270! I made six blocks and instead of sending them to the girls I asked them to send me 24 of the blocks that they've already received and ordered some fabric from Jude's fab sale as a backing. I need to turn these blocks into a completed quilt ready to send in July.

Linking up with Adrianne at On the Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side