Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can I have a Drumroll Please…

Fifteen years ago I started this quilt with some friends in Montreal.  They were each working on the 1998 Piecemaker’s calendar quilt and as I was late to the party I started the 1999 calendar quilt.  We met in each other’s homes about once a month and shared our progress along the way.  I had never tried applique before and my friends assured me that they would guide me along the way.  What a way to learn, starting with a quilt that was so big!!

Starting with the ship in the comer, freezer paper templates were made for each shape and thread basted to fabric before being hand-stitched down. 

The process was slow and as other projects took my fancy this one kept being put to one side.

By about 2002 I got it together as a top, but the sheer size of quilting it overwhelmed me, so once again it was put away until I could work out what to do next.

Then a couple of years ago Liz offered to get it onto the long-arm and put in some stabilizing quilting which would not only get the quilting started, but also act as basting so I could go in an hand quilt the rest.

I used Perle cotton (size 8) and quilted in the relief in the landscape.  That went fairly quickly before it was time to start on the borders

I used a cable design on the borders and used up literally all the blue cotton off one reel.  If I had had to thread one more strand I wouldn’t have had enough thread….it was that close!

So here it is all done… TA-DA  Completed, washed and on the bed…I’m so relieved it’s finally finished!!!

Until next time...♥

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Strawberry Fields Forever…

Back in March I shared a quick way to use up a layer cake with very little waste. Well the quilt is finished and I have to say it is my most favourite quilt I've made. The whole thing from start to finish was a joy to sew, stitch and quilt.

I think part of the reason it was so lovely to work with is in part because of the gorgeous fabrics, but also that I used Hobbs 80/20 fusible wadding…it makes the basting process painless and held the layers together perfectly for mindless machine quilting.

On the backing I added something extra.  This was my DH’s idea as he thought the quilt would suit the caravan perfectly.  So I have appliqued a caravan and car and stitched “we’re all going on a summer holiday” in variegated Perle cotton.

Until next time...♥

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Two Tops…

These tumbler quilts weren't planned, but were simply a case of sewing and sewing until I ended up with a mass of blocks. I think I got a little carried away, but I sure had a good time making them and even better, the crumb box was empty for all of 5 minutes! Woohoo!

I tried two different arrangements…one where every other block was a plain to a pieced tumbler…

…and the second which consisted of mostly pieced tumblers.

I used half tumblers on the edge and bordered the top and bottom with the same fabric to give them a frame.  I think I like the second one best, but either way they will make fab i-spy quilts for Project Linus.  Now I just have to get them quilted up. :o)

Until next time...♥

Monday, April 14, 2014

Talking ‘bout the Next Generation…

After completely 12 weeks of Sewing Club at the school the one person that I can really see has caught the sewing bug is my own daughter.  When she started joining me on a Monday afternoon I think she did it because she “had” to, but as time has gone on and her skill has improved she has started to ask to sew outside of class time.

I still have a few repairs to make to this Singer hand-crank, but as it is working DD2 wanted to have a go with it to work on her book cover that we were making in school.  The nice thing about it is that as she is the “motor” it can’t get away from her. 

Not stopping at book covers, she made a little duck for her friend’s birthday.  I helped her find a pattern and pressed the fabric wing with starch and freezer paper, but she did the rest on her own.  Little did I realize that while I haven’t been looking she has learned to thread her own needle, knot it with a quilters knot and also knot off at the end.

Until next time...♥

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Medallion with Seminole…

Do you recall THIS rather bright star block that I made back in February.  I think is was my attempt at bringing some much needed colour in my life, but now that the days are getting longer and the light is changing this block went from cheery to plain old in-your-face-loud! 

So what’s a girl to do, but make an attempt to tone it down and, more to the point, make it a useful loveable object! :o) So sit back and see how something that started off as a 16” loud block became a rather pleasant quilt top ready for some pretty quilting.

So the first thing I did was add some flying geese to the edge to echo the flying geese in the centre and then I added a plain pink border.  I had this idea of a Seminole border so I needed to add another plain border so that it would fit.  This also gave me the opportunity to add some more red to tie in the red from the centre.  I actually made my Seminole sides first and then worked out the size my inner square needed to be and then sized the red borders to fit.

The four patches in the Seminole border measure 3” finished so on point they measure near enough to 4 1/4” on point (3” x 1.414)… that made a decent width and was also a number that was easy to work out the maths for the pattern repeat on the sides.

(as an aside do you know about 1.414?  Take the finished measure of a square block and multiple it by 1.414 and you’ll have the measurement of the block on point)

As the four patches need to be 3” finished, I used 2 strips 2” wide and then oversized the sides by 1/2” so I would have room for error. 

Once my strips had been sewn together I segmented the sets into 2” strips.

By rotated each strip I could start to see the four patches taking shape and the border layout emerging.

I sewed all my strips into 4 patches.

Then each 4 patch set was sewn to the next, off-setting it so the blocks ran diagonally down the strip.

Once the whole strip was sewn I added a 4” square top and bottom to finish off the corner.

Carefully I trimmed 1/4” away from each point all the way up the strip and squared up the top and bottom.  Then it was just a matter of sewing it to the quilt like a regular border.

Another solid border was added before a piano key border was added to bring the quilt out to a good size.  What started as a pretty loud block has been transformed back into something cheery and perfect for a girl who loves pink.

Until next time...♥

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sew Busy…

Last time I posted I told you how I was having some quality time with my new machine. So far I've sewn 3 tops and quilted 2 quilts...and I'm having a ball! As a result I'm not short on blog posts for the next couple of weeks so I'm lining them up ready for them to post through the upcoming Easter break. Goodness knows that once the children are home there will be no time for sewing or the computer.

So first up...The sunglasses quilt: I first posted about it HERE and HERE. This was a result of a combination of a donation of bright fabrics to Project Linus and seeing a great tutorial on the Missouri Star Quilt Company's YouTube channel.


It was the last thing I sewed on my old machine and the first to be quilted on the new one...and the results are great.

Hopefully it will be well liked and loved and will bring a little "bright" into someone's life.

Until next time...♥

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The thing about a new sewing machine is that you have to get to know it…  Especially this machine which seems to stitch at the speed of light!!  So for my first sewing project I decided the best way to get to know it was to sew something that didn’t require precision.  As the crumb box was getting full I thought a few mile a minute blocks would be just the thing…

I sewed and sewed and sewed…and rather than cut them into squares, I decided to get out the Accuquilt to cut them into tumblers…96 in all!!  I had some other fabrics all ready so together I have more than enough for 2 quilts.

More sewing to be done before they become tops…

Until next time...♥

Friday, March 21, 2014


Last week the U.K. was blanketed in fog.  To add to the travel chaos, the town where I live was having some road works which were jamming up the streets so I walked to work.  I’m glad I did as I wouldn’t have been able to capture this eerie scene if I had been in the car.  Anyone in the traffic jam in the road behind me must have wondered what I was up to as I walked past the church and cemetery and then turned back on myself to take a few pictures with my phone.  To anyone observing I looked like I was walking back and forth lost!  Oh the things we do for art :o)


Until next time...♥

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New and Old..

The new sewing addition has arrived and I can finally reveal to you what resides in my sewing corner. Meet Sookie the Juki!

I have bought a Juki 8100e industrial straight stitch machine. I have looked at industrial machines for awhile as an alternative to say the Juki TL-98 or even the Janome 1600 and I have looked at the old big Singers too just to get the extra harp space for machine quilting, but after several discussions with the DH we came back full circle to the idea of an industrial machine.

We found a dealer who had one set up for me to try, so we set off to Birmingham to S Nutt Sewing Machines to have a look. As soon as I saw the machine in action I knew it would be fab! But the big question, of course, was would it do free motion as the feed dogs don't drop...? I knew it had to be possible as I found Katie's video showing her quilting on her industrial machine.  A few emails later (thanks Katie) and some help from the Nutt brothers the solution was found. The work around is that you drop the stitch length to 0 and with a high shank free motion foot from Janome free motion quilting is possible.

(This is me with my super bright quilt!)

I have already completed the quilt and the experience was bliss.. No fighting with the bulk!

So if one new machine wasn't fun enough.. Another found its way into the house the same week and it is a complete polar opposite... A hand-crank Singer 99k made in September 1931. She needs a little TLC but is already a working machine. I had it out this weekend with the girls and set about threading it to give it a try... DD1 was cheeky enough to catch my pose so I could see the needle to thread it. (sharing this picture with you is in the category of keeping it real!)

I didn't bother to put it on a table and being that it is wireless you can use it anywhere lol. So all threaded up we gave it a go and it worked!

Today I cleaned out the bobbin area and replaced the race wick as it wasn't doing its job anymore. I just loved the idea of getting this old girl working and sitting on the patio in the summer sewing away. What is interesting is that the upper tension on the Singer is the same as the industrial Juki so even though they are 83 years apart they really aren’t that different!

Until next time...♥

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Strawberry Fields…

Just before half term one of my students came to class with a quilt she had made using a layer cake. The design was simple, but really effective. She couldn't quite remember how she had made it saying she cut it one way then did some sewing and the cut it again. So there on the spot I worked out the pattern and in a 2 for 1 special not only gave the class the insight how to make the quilt, but also inspired myself to finally cut into one of the layer cakes in my stash. I decided to used the Strawberry Fields layer cake. It was really hard to make the first cut, but once the first one was made I was well on my way to some mindless holiday sewing. I thought you would like to know how I did it so I took some pictures along the way. Apologies for the quality of the pictures...they were taken in low light with my tablet.

Recipe...1 layer cake

Take your layer cake and cut a 3 1/2" strip off each square...the remaining half measures 6 1/2".  You can cut several layers at a time..4-6 layers if you have a nice sharp blade.

Now take the two halves to the machine and sew them together mixing and matching your patterns as you go.

Now with the seam running horizontally, cut each block into equal halves (this should be 5")

Now mix the halves up and sew them back together making sure to reverse the direction of one of the blocks.   Make sure you sew the pairs so the small rectangles are always in the same place or your pairs will be mirrored.

Sew them together alternating the direction of the blocks and sew them in 7 rows of 6.


Oh…and this last little pic…well this was my DH’s idea…More to follow! :o)…I’ve got to keep you guessing!

Until next time...♥