Thursday, 25 December 2014

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

This is my Thanksgiving quilt. I started it at a class last December after buying some fall fabric in the USA on holiday.

I just followed the pattern for the class so you can see this isn't as modern as some of my other quilts. I chose the Barn Rising layout as I thought it gave the most impact.

I have been making an effort to finish my WIPs and so I perservered with this quilt even though I wasn't sure what I was making it for. Then a man in our church was taken into hospital on holiday. And I just knew that this quilt would cheer him up. He is always such a thankful guy in every circumstance. It was just perfect as it is that bit more traditional and no girly colours, and the right size for a lap quilt.

I sewed this verse from the bible onto the corner to remind him "In everything give thanks."

That turkey fabric just makes me smile.

It was also a great time to practice my free motion quilting and especially some feathers.

Enjoy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Murphy's quilt

I think I will name this quilt Murphy's quilt as in Murphy's Law - you know the one, everything that could go wrong will go wrong! This quilt has nearly been the death of me!

First the purples - most quilters will say if they are short on one colour it will be purple. I don't think that it is so much of a conscious choice rather than a lack of that shade available. It is so hard to get. If you go to the purples section on a fabric website it will show mostly that magenta pinky colour. I had really wanted a much darker truer purple. But in the end I settled for the mish mash of anything that remotely resembled purple. So I basically started a quilt, one of the few things I make to keep for myself, with a lot of fabrics I barely liked.

Then the pattern I chose way back when I first started quilting. I thought it looked so striking. However when I looked at the cutting, it was really wasteful if you weren't using a layer cake. So I reworked it so that I could cut with yardage. It still left a lot of crazy diagonal cuts and loads of half square triangles.

The sewing was basically 2 seams which I found it a bit boring and then there were no directions as to how to square up which meant if you didn't create your own system you could easily cut way off as each block is asymmetrical. So now I had a load of fabrics I didn't really like using a pattern that I didn't like making.

I got the quilt top finished and my husband thought I should really add an extra row to one side. But I had been sewing rows the other way and didn't really want to add it cross wise. So if you're keeping track we now have fabrics I don't like, a pattern not pleasant to sew and a quilt that is too small for the bed!

Next up comes the quilt sandwich. Easy, right? I had bought bamboo quilting especially for this project. But by the time I got round to this one I might have cut into it for something else. So I had all these large scraps and had to piece them together into a super king quilt! It took me about an hour to do the maths - and I am not kidding. Not that it really helped. I sewed bits to the wrong side and it was still just big enough...which wasn't enough when trying to square up the quilt sandwich. So some sides were over and some bits short.

It was even a nightmare to photograph with all the dark colours in it which is why it has taken me so long to blog about it.But at last it was done. Yay. We got it on our bed for a few weeks until the weather here got too cold and I begged for the duvet to go back on.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Quick Weekend sewing project

Getting back from hols, I just had to get at my machine again quickly.

So I picked a quick sewing project from my increasingly long list.

A receipt and voucher holder to remedy stuffing all my receipts in my bag and never having the right vouchers with me in the shops.

I made a bit of a boo boo when cutting out the holes for the magnetic clasps and tore the fabric and had to start again on that side.

I also wanted this yellow bike to be on the front but didn't think that through right when cutting.

I got the magnetic clasps in a parcel from Etsy seller, 3DPatternPaper and they were thinner than normal which is great for projects like these. However being square you really need to watch how you put them in so that they are both straight! Ask me how I know...

You could also make without the clasp as it stays together pretty well. I used a stiff interfacing on the pockets and exterior fabric but no wadding or fleece to keep it slimline.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

September Queen Stash Bee

This month it is my turn as Queen Bee for the Stash Bee group. Check out my post that is over there at the minute to see what it is all about and the blocks I have chosen.

You will find out more about me and may even contain some pictures. I am trying to get over the weirdness of them being online as I don't usually participate in the whole "live my life on social media" thing.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Craft fair update

Just thought I would share the pics of all the stuff I made for the craft fair last month. Less said about the actual fair the better.

This is what I started with 10 days before the big day.

Cushions, baby shoes and clutches.

Coffee pot warmers, ipad covers and dummy chains.


The finished table.

The fair was not an amazing success but my work colleagues loved a bit of Monday morning leftover shopping!

Fabric scrap packs and buttons. Some items still available on Etsy.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Purples - discuss

Plum, violet, maroon, burgundy, lavander, lilac, amethyst, mauve, magenta and (my personal favourite) Cadbury. What do you think of as the colour purple?

But why are nice purple fabrics so hard to find? Any blog you read, even in the US, where quilters go through their stash the one colour they all are missing is purple in any significant quantity.

Unfortunately for me our bedroom is just such a colour so I need to do a super king size quilt with what I could scrape together to match. Do you think I've got it right?

The big flower in the upper left corner is the same as our painted walls. It's a hard colour to describe but is kind of a pinky white. I managed to get a solid the exact match in my local quilt shop! This is only amazing because they only stock about 20 solids. You can see it in the bottom of the picture.

This fabric is from the curtains and blinds. I had wanted to go with that really dark purple in it rather than the reddish pink

But since I had to buy off the internet, you can see the colours vary greatly. Purple seems to be very much a matter of opinion. I took out this Alexander Henry. It just kept sticking out. What do you think? Have I got it right? Any others you would take out?

I also bought a lot of fabric designs that are just so-so. Not my favourites which is a shame as it will be one of the few quilts I will keep.

So instead of showcasing the fabrics I thought I would choose a big impact design. This was one of the first quilt patterns that I saw and printed off when I started to quilt. Now I will actually get to use it. It's called Java Stars from the Moda Bake Shop website. I will just have to super size it up to super king and maybe leave off the boarder.

I hope it will all come together when all the purples are cut up and mixed together. So what do you think?

Monday, 3 March 2014

Sign up now for Modern Sewing Class

To sign up just email me at:

Date: 5 April 2014
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Cost: £15
Location: Belfast
Making: Cushions

What you need to be able to do
As this is a beginner’s class, I do not expect any particular level of sewing ability. However if you can familiarise yourself with your machine, that would be great. If you can sew a straight line, that would be better. If you’re fairly confident at sewing for the home, but have never done patchwork, you will learn lots. In other words, whatever your ability, come along, have fun, you can learn from scratch or learn better tips and tricks. Please let me know what level you think you are when you apply so I can tailor the class accordingly.

What will be covered
·         What makes patchwork modern
·         Fabric selection
·         Cutting out
·         ¼” seam
·         Proper pressing
·         Half Square Triangles
·         Finishing a cushion cover

What you need to bring
·         Sewing machine (if at all possible – I have access to 3/4 machines but it is so much better if you have your own). Also bring the instruction manual if you still have it.
·         100% cotton thread in white or neutral with bobbin (not polyester)
·         Scissors

If you can, bring
·         ¼” sewing foot
·         Rotary cutter
·         Cutting mat

What will be provided
·         All supplies including fabric (choices available), cushion filler, pattern, instructions

·         Tea, coffee and buns!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

It's all about the equipment

I got a new smaller cutting mat yesterday to hopefully make a bit more mobile from the sewing room. I figured I could do a bit of trimming and scrap sorting away from my main cutting table. This is not a speciality quilting mat but check out all those angles and marks to the quarter inch in places. A great buy for under a £5!


Thursday, 13 February 2014

The making of a quilt

I thought I would share the thought process that accompanies the quilt making. I may not be the right one and it may not be pretty but it is mine.

First of all you get the brief.  Really it is usually just a thought about what you might want to create. For this project mine was 2 quilts for 2 little sisters.Use what you have. Try to use up some scraps. Not too much white - the quilts will be going to the jungle in the Philippines. A pretty quick design - they're leaving soon. And even for the pattern - use what you have, remember all those great books I got for Christmas...

What I had was 2 massive peachy linen tablecloths gifted to me. I thought this was the perfect project as I would have enough for 2 quilt backs and the backgrounds for the front. I really wanted the quilts to look like they belonged together but not the same so they would be personal for each girl.

But peach?? - how to make that work in a modern way? It's not exactly my go to colour.

So I did my usual design. One colour with a totally different contrasting colour. Use a modern improv design. Ok, one quilt sorted. So how to make the other one different. This is where the totally amazing Design Seeds website comes into its own.I searched for the yellowy peach of my background fabric and found this great palette.

This is me totally out of my comfort zone now. Pastels? Could they work, or will it all just look a bit meughh.
So I just went for it. Pulling out all these colours and just hoping that when they where cut up they would look great together. I think the mink spotty fabric is the lifesaver here. Just enough contrast to give the quilt life.

I used a pattern from Modern Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman only cutting it down to half the size to make a crib quilt. So what do you think? Did I pull it off?

I love the result! It was hard to give this one away. But it has the girl's name written on it so its fate was sealed.  Both quilts all mushed up and crinkly from the wash. Totally out of focus I know but as you know photography is not my strong point - especially using an ipad standing on the bed!

I had wanted to make them the same size but when I did by adding extra peach borders where necessary it just looked plain wrong. So I trimmed them back to their original measurements. 

And just a little shot of the backs.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

New additions to my sewing room

These are just above my cutting table. I got the one on the left from TK Maxx in the summer so totally by chance and never to be repeated. I got the material on the right from USA when I was there in October. I did not think it would take this long to source a canvas staple gun and a strong man to get it up on the wall!

Saturday saw me attend the first Bee Blessed of 2014. It is a local charity quilting bee that I have joined to do something with the (limited) skill that I have been blessed with and also to be more sociable in my sewing endeavours. But if you look at the website photos and want to spot me, I am the one who is beavering away, looking very serious sewing and not being at all sociable! I didn't even know the picture had been taken.

Hopefully will have more quilty pictures to share soon but hope this has been enough to keep you hooked.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

My first ever quilt retreat

This was held the last Saturday in November and was organised by the lovely Charlene.

 I didn't really know what to expect but it was a great day out. Charlene had arranged surprise treats all day long and so I can show you the goodies:

I got a gift just because it was my birthday in December - how good is that!?

The finished product and what we were all aiming for

And some of the work I did on the day - obviously still incomplete.

My table was kinda messy
We also got to try out the Accuquilt Go Cutter which was great as I've read about it online and really wanted to see how it worked in reality. I didn't realise you could even buy them in the UK. Charlene had all different dies available and I only wish I had brought more wonderweb.

Charlene's next day is all about scraps so I can't wait.