Monday, 15 September 2014

Siblings Together quilts

I am very happy to report that the Siblings Together quilts that I made with the invaluable help of Leeds Modern Quilt Guild  were indeed finished in time to be sent down to Fat Quarterly Retreat and handed over. So pleased! We pieced the blocks at our June meeting, all 48 of them.

I was absolutely determined to get these finished by this year's deadline. I do work well with a bit of focus, so I sashed, basted, quilted and had the binding chopped up and ready in time for our July guild sewing day. 

No pins here! 505 spray ftw

Second one all quilted. Now I desperately need to crack on with teacher gifts! #leedsmqg #grannysquarequilt #siblingstogether
Easy peasy wavy line quilting

@lisasew @leedsmqg I've cut the binding! But do you have hexie dies for the sissix? Could you bring them tomorrow please?
Binding strips all cut and ready

The day of our July meet was an absolute scorcher. Remember Summer, people? Yes, that was just a few weeks ago. Just the perfect kind of day for binding two huge quilts. But that deadline was just a week away, along with the end of term, our family holiday and a whole load of gift making and packing stress! So I cracked on, and got the bindings attached and machined down. I usually prefer to hand finish my bindings but when speed is of the essence it has to be machine finished. Just a few finishing tasks to be done, attaching the labels and hand finishing the corners (I always like to do this for durability). Luckily many hands came to the rescue! We had some illustrious names at our meeting that month and so I am proud to say that the lovely Katy, Amy and Justine all had a hand in finishing off these quilts. It was a  busy, productive and super fun day. 

I left the finished quilts with Lisa who handed them over to Karen (you still with me, yes?). And Karen took them down to Fat Quarterly Retreat! This was a real team effort and I am so grateful to everyone involved.

Siblings Together

Siblings Together is such an important charity. It helps to reunite and rebuild relationships between siblings separated by the UK care system. Each year it holds summer camps for these children, and each child who attends gets to take away their own quilt, a special handmade item infused with happy memories and love. I have donated 3 quilts to the charity this year, including these two, and been involved in 11 more! I hope to do the same again this year as once again I am part of the Siblings Together quilting bee. And Leeds Modern Quilt Guild will be making quilts to send again too, although we may give ourselves a little more time this year!!

I didn't manage to get any pictures of the finished quilts as they had to be handed over as soon as they were done, but Lisa did. Thanks Lisa!

So to summarise ...
Pattern: Granny square blocks in a 4 by 6 arrangement
Fabric: Potluck scraps plus others, Kona snow for sashing
Backing: IKEA fabrics donated by Lisa and Hannah
Binding: Chicopee plaid and Lizzy House orange jewels
Quilting: Simple wavy lines on the diagonal, I think 3" apart.
Size: 78" ish by 53" ish

Thanks everyone! 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Roundabout giveaway winner at last

Apologies that it has taken me a little while to announce the winner of the Roundabout pattern giveaway. I've had a rather stressful and horrible week culminating in my lovely Grandma dying yesterday morning so of course anything blog related has been rather low down the priority list this week. 

Anyway I finally managed to pop to and the RNG said...

... comment number 4 which is Gill who said:

Thanks so much Gill, I will send your email to Jess so that she can send you your copy of the pattern. I look forward to seeing your version!

Thanks so much to all who entered, I have managed some sewing progress since my last post so hopefully I will be back to update soon. Here's a peek ...

Monday, 1 September 2014

End of August, start of September

I totally missed August's Fresh Sewing Day as we were still away on holiday, but that's okay because July was just a frantic rush of Siblings Together quilts, teacher gifts and holiday of course.

August has been surprisingly productive, all things considered. And by all things, I mean of course the school holidays, but also the priority secret sewing which cannot be shown.

So that's a finished Roundabout quilt
A started and finished flannel baby quilt.
A getting ahead of myself September STQB block.
And August's STQB block too of course.

And looking ahead with my plan for September.

1) Secret sewing project -  yes, I know, it's boring, but also exciting too!

2) #IGminiswap I have till December for this but I want to get on with it while the ideas are fresh.

And then I should try to tackle some of those outstanding WIPs really so for the sake of hopefulness:

3) Travel duffel 2

we've seen this photo a lot, haven't we?

4) The vaguely festive churn dash
I may take this to work on next week at Leeds MQG. It isn't even hard.

5) Aviatrix medallion
Or I may take this, because I am waiting for new rotary blades and this is all cut out.

But really, truly, I have a deadline to meet, a big girl back at school tomorrow, a baby who has dropped her nap (19 months! she's 19 months old!) and I'm doing another Whole 30 this month too so I'll be cooking plenty. I'd better focus on getting that secret sewing done. So if I'm silent, that's what I'm doing!

Linking up with the lovely Lynne who I finally met at Festival of Quilts last month! Which was a pleasure, of course.

Fresh Sewing Day

Oh and my Roundabout pattern giveaway is still open till Friday September 5th so please click over and take part! 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Roundabout mini - finished! And a giveaway.

Back at the end of May the lovely Jess of  Elven Garden Quilts put out a call for pattern testers for her Roundabout pattern

Picture from
It's her variation on the Schoenrock Cross block and is a pleasing mixture of foundation paper piecing and regular piecing. Jess has made a cushion and a full quilt, which are both utterly stunning.

Picture from

I've been really pondering lately about where my "niche" is in this quilty world. I don't consider myself to be an natural designer, but I am an avid follower of patterns and I take great pride in my careful and accurate piecing skills. So a little pattern testing felt to be just the thing, and as I absolutely love Jess's versions of the pattern I put myself forward.

I went for the mini size, which is four blocks. I'm not sure I have the stamina for the full sized quilt, even though it would be stunning!!

I tried to push myself a bit with my fabric choices here. I'm not very good at scrappy, I need some kind of thread and order to tie it all together, but I wanted recreate the movement and variety of Jess's work. 

So I started by choosing this palette from Design Seeds:

Dress is hemmed.  Tomorrow, this   #designseeds

And pulling this from my stash:

Get babies to bed, play with this.

This stack got refined down so that the mini wasn't too busy, but I enjoyed the mixture of solids and prints. I worked this way with my Marcelle Medallion and again with my (still in progress) Aviatrix Medallion and I love the way it looks. The solids give the eye a place to rest amongst all the prints. 

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the process of choosing fabric, figuring out and following through the pattern and giving feedback on how I found it (though Jess might not have enjoyed my pernickity ways quite so much, sorry Jess!!). I have done plenty of foundation paper piecing in the past and am comfortable with the process, and the additional traditionally cut and pieced sections made the blocks come together quickly.

#roundabout blocks all finished for @theelvengarden. That bottom right block reads orange not yellow irl!

I got the top finished and the pattern feedback complete, and even managed to get it basted. And then it sat. And sat, and sat. I just didn't know how to quilt it. My husband said stitch in the ditch, but who's got the patience or inclination for that?! I didn't want to detract from the piecing but I felt it needed just something more. I even considered hand quilting it, as I often do. I love the look of hand quilting, but just didn't know where to start.

Then one evening I grabbed it, sat down and did this:

Been pondering how to quilt this #roundaboutquilt mini for ages. Last night decided to channel my inner @jeliquilts so I cracked out the pale grey thread and got wiggling! Awesome technique Kelly I love it! Pattern is #roundabout by @theelvengarden

That's wonky wavy wiggly lines with my walking foot, shamelessly copied from inspired by Kelly at Jeliquilts. This is her signature quilting style, and I can see why. It was so fast, so easy and it looks great. Thanks Kelly!

I then remembered that I had a few hours in the car to visit the in-laws, so I quickly whipped up and attached my binding all ready to hand sew down during the journey.

And so it is done, and I am delighted.

It is backed in just about the last piece of Nordika. I bought about 3 yards of this panel print when it was released and have used very scrap. It's even the (rather burnt now) cover on my ironing board!

I didn't really expect to get this one finished up this Summer when I put it on my Q3 FAL list but somehow, I have. I do hate a UFO so I am very happy to have it all done and on my wall.

I've really struggled to capture the colours on this one. Photography isn't my strong point, not helped by our dark shadowy house and dismal garden space. Anyway, you get the idea.

That odd block isn't as obvious in real life!
And this was a timely finish really, as I have signed up to my first ever online quilty swap - the #IGminiswap. So there will be another mini joining this one on my wall in December. I'm so glad I did as it seems like almost everyone on my Instagram is taking part and my feed is flooded with excitement! I am in #teamrosanne, I have my eyes on my swap partner and I think I may even already have a plan....

Some stats and I will wind it up. But I have a giveaway to announce, so keep reading please!

Pattern: Roundabout by Jess Frost at the Elven Garden
Fabrics: Tsuru, Waterfront park, Collage, Sunprint, April Showers, Potluck, Botanics, various solids. 
Backing: Whimsicol in Mist from Nordika by Jeni Baker
Binding: Botanics crosshatch
Quilting: Wonky wavy straight lines in Aurfil 50wt #2615
Size: 20" square. Ish. 


Jess has very sweetly offered a free copy of her Roundabout pattern to one lucky blog reader. In order to be in with a chance please comment below. If you like, tell me what colour palette you fancy making your Roundabout in and whether you'll be going for the mini/ cushion version or the full size!

My blog followers get an extra chance, just tell me how you follow please. 

And I think we should give another chance to Jess's followers, so for a 3rd entry let me know how you follow The Elven Garden. I follow her on Bloglovin and Facebook!

** Please please when replying ensure I can contact you if you win. If you are a no-reply blogger, or if you don't even know what that means, please include your email address in your comment. If I can't get hold of you you can't win, sorry!**

This is a PDF pattern so of course this giveaway is open to everyone internationally. 

I will keep the giveaway open till about 8pm BST on Friday September 5th.

Good luck! Oh and if you don't win, or just can't wait, the pattern is half price for the next 2 weeks so you can grab a bargain :-)

Friday, 29 August 2014

A little flannel finish

I really am rather fond of flannel. I do particularly like a flannel backed quilt. I find it always worth pre-washing, mind, and I am generally an avid anti-pre-washer. But flannel tends to shrink, and that is not a desirable quality in a quilt back.

Here are some of my flannel backed lovelies:

Backed with Ruby flannel I believe

Pretty pink posy hourglass
You'll have to trust me on this one ....

Flannel backed baby quilts =  perfection

There is one downside to flannel though. It is really heavy, and bulky. And as I buy much of my fabric from the States, that is bad news. The lovely folk at Pink Castle Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop will cram as much quilting cotton as humanly possible into a flat rate envelope, generally about 10.5 yards. But alas, only 4 yards max of flannel will fit. That make those shipping charges not so great value for money. That said, I read this week that FQS have changed their shipping policies. This could be good news for us flannel lovers, yes? I'd be interested to know if anyone tries it out, as I am still fabric fasting. YAWN.

Anyway so then last year the lovely Rae released the even lovelier Fanfare Flannels. And I was smitten. But shipping charges, not good. So when hubby announced a business trip to the States, I did the only sensible thing and ordered a gigantic box of Fanfare flannels to be sent direct to his hotel.

#fabricpost hubby just back from a trip to the States, well it would have been rude not to have him receive a little @pinkcastlefabrics parcel for me while he was there, wouldn't it?

It was a great purchase, has seen me through lots of sweet new baby boy gifts:

Baby boy bibs


A scrumptious blankie for my very own baby:

And I still have yardage of the pink foxes to make the intended pyjamas for my girls this Winter ... best crack on with that hadn't I?! Oh and of course I won't be buying any of Rae's new Fanfare flannel in gorgeous new colours. Even though I really really want to. Meh. 

Anyway, a dear friend has had a new baby boy this Summer, and I was a bit at a loss as to what to make for him. I'm a bit over bibs, to be honest, and I had lots of scraps of the flannel which I wanted to use up. So I did some chopping, some basic quilt maths and some pondering and came up with this: 

Just simple colours, simple patchwork. A mixture of flannel and quilting cotton. I normally always quilt white background quilts in white thread, but I felt this needed a bit of something more, so I used an Aurifil pale grey (#2600) but in 40wt for a bit of extra pop. A diagonal crosshatch all marked out with a  Hera marker.

I pieced the back to use up those last Fanfare scraps and because at 42" square this quilt just rules out a WOF backing. I love the way the quilting shows up here.

Added a label, not my favourite task but essential I now feel (and lament the number of quilts gifted without one). Embellished with my new Aurifloss thread and some simple hand stitches. 

And for the binding, voile of course. Scraps again, of AMH from my voile sparkling cider quilt. Because like flannel backings, voile bindings on baby quilts are perfection. A little sliver of silky loveliness. Hand stitched down this time, because that finish is my favourite.

I haven't met this new little man yet. I am the sort of new mama who hides away from visitors and jealously guards my baby to myself so I prefer to offer the same respect to other new parents in those precious few days and weeks. But her partner is back at work now, my big girl is back at school next week and I suspect that mad rush has died down, so in a week or two we will visit. And what a lovely gift we have to give.

Here is the detail:
Pattern: Simple patchwork inspired by Jeni's picnic quilt. Squares are 4" finished.
Fabric: Fanfare flannel (prints and white solid) by Rae Hoeskstra, Waterfront Park by Violet Craft, Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander (the white tone on tone crosshatch), a name forgotten yellow circle dot.
Backing: Sketch in Mist plus Fanfare flannel
Binding: AMH voile
Quilting: Straight line crosshatch in Arufil 40wt #2600
Size: 42" square

Happily linking up with finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts. Because it is Friday, and I did.

I do have other finishes to show you, which actually feature on my Q3 FAL list, I just need to get around to blogging about them! Time feels to be at a real premium here at the moment. Watch this space!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday ... stashing?

At the end of last year I signed up to Fabriholics Anonymous, pledging to fast from purchasing fabric for at least 6, if not 12 months. To be honest, I've found it pretty easy. I am a tenacious sort, and once I commit to something I generally see it through. Plus I have really so much fabric, and so many WIPS and WNQIPs (works not quite in progress) on my sewing to do list that I have been really quite well occupied. Especially as my sweet family gives me ever smaller amounts of time to sew!! I did purchase some fabric back in May, this pile of synthetic, ummm, delightfulness

to make this for my eldest girl:

I consider this fast unbroken. I couldn't very well piece her a Frozen costume from FQs of quilting cotton, could I? And to make no costume would have been to fail somewhat as a mother. So that has been the sum total of my fabric purchasing for 2014, 8 long months without buying fabric.

This is my stash today:

Looking pretty healthy still, right? And messy too, yes!

But on Saturday I went to Festival of Quilts. Oh, the torture of planning this trip. I couldn't decide whether to just sack off the fabric fast and dive headfirst into all the fabric with my husband's credit card or whether to, you know, show more restraint. Regardless of purchases I had a truly lovely day as I knew I would. I travelled with my good friend Natalie and also met up with numerous internet quilty friends. Some familiar faces and some new ones too. Way too many to name, but all just as lovely in real life as I knew they would be. It was a real pleasure to affirm how involved in this wonderful community I have become over the last 12 months and how many great friends I have made. One day wasn't enough. I wanted to chat, and hang out so much more. And shop more. And look properly at all the quilts on display, our quick whizz round didn't really do them justice. Next year, 2 days, perhaps? 

But I'm posting on Sunday Stashing so I must have bought something, right? Here we are. First, the freebies.

We queued for quite a while for some Warm and Natural batting which turned out to be disappointingly polyester. Some you win eh? And I think I did with this sweet brooch kit from the Love Patchwork and Quilting Stand. Looking forward to making this up with my big girl later this week. 

Next, the notions. My notion buying has gone a bit wild this year in the absence of fabric purchases and yesterday was no exception.

Some Clover hand sewing needles and a thimble from the irresistibly named Hannah's Room. Regular readers will know that hand sewing isn't my favourite (finishing binding excepted, of course) and I hope that having some proper tools for the job will help. Some Aurifil thread and new Aurifloss from the lovely ladies at Pin It and Stitch. Then a super mini cunning Seamfix seam ripper and quite a lot of my new favourite needle as recommended by Lynne. Enough to last me some time I hope ...

Edited to add - spray baste!! How could I forget, I love this stuff! As you can see ...

What's that? Fabric? Did I buy fabric? Did I break my fabric fast? No. Well, yes. But no. I bought this:

Which is backing and background for some *secret sewing* that I have underway this month. Both permitted under the Fabric Fast rules you see and so that's my fast unbroken.

I feel smug, yes, but also a tiny bit dissatisfied. I passed over some real bargains yesterday folks, like Pearl Bracelets for £7 a metre. But I didn't need them, so it was the right choice.

Though I am still agonising over Cotton and Steel basics. 

Justine and Lisa only had one of these bundles left yesterday. I wonder if they sold it .....

I bet they did.

Linking up for the  first time ever. 

Molli Sparkles