Sunday, 7 September 2014

Orange peel quilt-along - background fabrics

I've been really struggling not to race ahead with this quilt-along. I'm so excited to get making those gorgeous peels!! 
Orange Peel Quilt-Along!
But I'm determined to do it in the right order!! So I'm linking up today with my (mostly) cut background fabrics.
I cut all the low volume fabrics that I had pulled from my stash into 6" squares. That gave me 89 squares. I haven't really decided how big to make my quilt but I think I'm aiming for the lap size which means I need 144 squares. I picked up 3 new low volume FQs while I was at my local fabric shop (LOVE those little pink roses!!) and when they are cut I will have 116. So I just need to buy 3 more FQs and I will have enough! I really thought I would need to buy loads more fabric, so my purse is very happy!!

Right, I'm off to link up with Julie and see what the other lovely quilt-alongers have been up to!


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Orange peel quilt-along

Hey! I'm super excited about joining in with Julie's orange peel quilt-along!
Orange Peel Quilt-Along!

Today is fabric pulling day. I knew that I wanted a scrappy orange peel quilt, with low-volume backgrounds and bright peels. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't have much low-volume fabric in my stash, but having chatted to Julie about it I realised that low-volume didn't have to be super low-volume, just enough to contrast with the peels. Never did I consider that the fabric for the peels would give me problems, oh no, that would be the easy part right? 
Urgh. Let me tell you, the trip into my sewing cupboard this afternoon was NOT a happy one. The low-volume part, not so hard. I had more than I thought. Maybe not enough for the whole quilt, but I'm taking a 'go-with-the-flow' approach to this project. I definitely have plenty to get started with. 
And then the peels. I pulled out all the fabrics that would contrast, that weren't in my 'this-is-too-nice-to-actually-use' pile. It looked like poo. I walked away. I gave myself a talking to. I came back and looked at my 'this-is-too-nice-to-actually-use' pile. I gave myself another talking to. I put a lot of those fabrics into my peels pile (deep breaths, Karen, deep breaths) and pulled out all the poo ones. Better. Not perfect, but I'm going for scrappy so I'm hoping that not perfect is ok. 
So here they are.
Hmm, not the best light for photos this afternoon. What do you think? Scrappy and bright? 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

Once again Julie, Christa and I had a wonderful time at the Festival of Quilts. We visited for two days again, (one just isn't enough!) and we still didn't manage to see everything! I love seeing all the quilts, so many beautiful and amazing works of art. I came away totally inspired, with so many new ideas, such a great way to spend two days!
Obviously there was shopping. Quite a lot of shopping. I had two specific projects in mind and I did pretty well getting all I needed - and more!
Firstly the greys and yellows.
I am taking a course all about flying geese later this week and fell head-over-heels in love with this quilt. I already had the grey and yellow flea market fancy so my job was to find other fabrics that went with them. I'm thrilled with this little pile, they make me so happy! I have 1 other yellow and a few more lighter greys that may or may not go in, I'll see how it goes!
Next up - pinks and greys! There does seem to be a bit of a grey theme going on here!
I have seen an amazing pattern for a foundation pieced flamingo, and I have a vision in my head of lots of flamingos, all in different pink fabrics on grey backgrounds. I think I will only need 9 of the pinks, but there is no actual plan yet so the fact that I have extras is good! I had such fun with this pile, I hope it all comes together the way I see it in my head!!
Other stuff.
The grey, yellow and pink might make it into one of the piles above. The pearl bracelets? Well, lets just say I got a bit carried away! I love them, and they are so useful, so I bought them.
And some more bits and pieces. The yarn is silk and such a beautiful shade of pink (the photo sadly does not show it) I don't know what I will knit with it, but it will be gorgeous! Some of Jeni Baker's nordika fabrics, because I wanted them. A bag clasp. I'm sure there was something I wanted to make that needed one, but now I can't remember what it was! And that bobbin case! Really, I shouldn't get excited about this, it's so geeky, but IT IS AMAZING!! It has changed my life. Or at least the little bits of my life that involve chasing bobbins around the bottom of my thread box.

Oh, so much fun. And I'm so excited about my new projects. I just have a few things to get finished first...

Monday, 18 August 2014


I have used these secret projects as excuses not to blog for such a long time now!! To be fair, there were a fair few of them and I really didn't want to spoil the surprises for the recipients!
The secrets were in 2 parts. Firstly there were birthday gifts, and then there were quilts. All heading off to the other side of the world to my very dear friend Heidi and her gorgeous family. They moved to Australia almost a year ago now, and I miss them all so very much.
I posted the first parcels at the end of July, and then the quilts followed 9 days later. Strangely, 2 of the quilts arrived first and then the other parcels all came in the next post!! So now there are no more secrets - Hooray!

So, the birthdays. First was the lovely Heidi herself, and then one of her daughters turned 6. For Heidi I used Jeni Baker's library tote pattern to make this bag. I found choosing fabric really hard (much more so than I normally do!) so in the end Molly picked, and did a great job too! I was going to make a pretty pencil case for Miss A, but then I remembered some pencil rolls I had seen and started planning. I had soooo much fun picking fabric scraps to match each pencil! I'm so pleased with how they both turned out!
And then the quilts. Heidi's youngest was born shortly after they made the move to Australia and I had always planned to make him a baby quilt, it was just a bit late! But then while I was finishing it up I decided that the girls needed quilts too! I chose quilt patterns that were quick and easy, and that meant I could use fabric I already had in the cupboard. I'm pretty pleased with the results :)
I woke up this morning to messages and photos from Heidi, all parcels received and loved! 
It was so lovely. I might have had a little cry. Heidi, if you're reading this, I love you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 15 August 2014

Another ripple baby blanket

Ah, I do love a ripple! And I barely need any excuse to crochet them, a lovely lady at work is expecting a baby boy in the Autumn so I picked up my hook, picked some boyish colours from my stylecraft stash and away I went!
I really enjoyed making this blanket.
I left the edges, I prefer my ripples that way.
And there it is. All ready to gift.
Now, what will be next on my hook?


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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

FoQ bag

Last year at the Festival of Quilts I bought a teeny-tiny Moda charm pack, just because it was small and cute! It sat in my sewing box for almost a year before I decided what to do with it! I made a tote bag - especially to carry all my FoQ goodies this year!
 I didn't really want to chop up the charms and lose the cuteness of the prints so I just sewed them as they were with some grey solid. Ooh, so pretty! Just look at all those lovely little squares!

 I used a few of the charms on the back too.
 And this amazing green to line the bag!
 And there it is! 
All ready for the Festival of Quilts on Thursday. 
And Friday!!!
I wonder how much fabric I can fit in there.....


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A finished quilt top

My Molly loves a bit of vintage fabric, just like me! We've been putting together a little collection, mostly from cherry-red-vintage. My part of the stash is pink and purple and blue, whereas Molly's is yellow, orange and brown. Not really what I expected for a 14 year old - but she loves them!
She had seen a vintage star quilt in a magazine and fell totally in love with it - fine by me, nice and easy!! We found a plain flat sheet that worked well for the background and cutting began. I cut my squares as big as I could from FQs, and once they had been made into HSTs they measured 18" - oops! Wasn't planning a quilt that big! That's what happens when you just go for it!
But never mind, it is beautiful, and Molly loves it. 
I have to admit I'm a little nervous about quilting this beast of a quilt, I haven't decided how to quilt it yet, maybe straight lines, maybe diagonal? Any ideas?


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Blooming Flower cushion

I have a finished project to share with you today! This was a total accident, I never meant to make this cushion at all! I had my small stash of cotton yarns out to make a brooch for a friend, (didn't take photos of that before I gifted it though!) and before I knew what was happening Lucy's blooming-flower-cushion tutorial was on my iPad and I was crocheting!! I quickly realised what a relaxing and addictive project it was though! It was perfect for evenings after school, when my brain was totally fried.
I loved every minute of this project - right up until about 3 days after it was finished. My yarn seems to have a bit of 'give' in it, and as soon as the cushion was being used it went a bit stretchy, a little saggy :( It doesn't fit snugly around the cushion pad like it did when I put it together, and I'm a bit sad about that. You can see in the picture below that it is a bit out of shape. 
But... I do still love it! The colours go well on the chair and it was just SO lovely to make I can forgive a little sagging!!
I'm off to sew now, be back soon!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Checking in

Well hello there!!
I really have been truly awful at this blogging malarkey lately. Going back to work full time has meant that I just don't have the time that I used to. I've been really good at keeping on going with sewing and knitting and crochet and anything else I fancy, I find that I am an all round happier person if I give myself crafting time. But blogging... well, blogging has been the thing that suffered, especially in the last, crazy, part of the summer term. But now it is the holidays! I have had a week just catching up with myself, recovering, and now it's definitely time to get some of my projects on the blog!
There are still some secrets, hopefully they will all get in the post this week, and when they reach their destinations I will be able to share them.
So, here are a couple of things that I am working on at the moment...
Ripples!! I knew it wouldn't be long before I found a reason to make another of these blankets. A friend at work gave me the perfect excuse - she is expecting a baby boy! Oooh, I do love working on this blanket, I think it will be finished pretty soon!
And hexies! You may remember these, I've been working on them for a while - my little furniture make-over! I finished making flowers with the big pile of scraps I had sorted out and now I'm joining them all together. Still using that darned invisible thread - pretty sure I won't use it after this project, but it does make beautiful invisible stitches!
Quite a bit more joining to be done!

There are lots of other projects in various stages of creation round about the place, so expect to see more of me here over the next few weeks!!


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Secret knitting

Finally - something I can share!
Honestly, working on all these secret projects is hard work! I have to think so carefully about what pictures I can post where, those of you that follow me on Instagram will be familiar with this little bit of knitting, because I know that the recipient of this gift is not on Instagram (Yes, I know, the actual recipient is only 8 months old so of course he isn't, but I mean his mum!!) 
So, this little jacket. For the same scrumptious little boy I made these blankets for way back in August before he was born, before his gorgeous family moved all the way to Australia.
Easy right? Well yes, actually. Pretty easy. After a few rows the pattern of knits and purls became second nature, nothing complicated there.
Quick too? It is baby sized after all. No. Not quick. At all. To the point where I was actually starting to worry that it wouldn't fit by the time I finished it!!
But it does! Hooray!
I finished it, sewed on the buttons and got it to the post office as soon as I possibly could as I knew it had a long journey. Two and a half weeks later I was woken up early in the morning (ok, not that early, I was being lazy!) by a very excited phone call from Australia! Secret knitting had arrived! The baby in question was asleep so I still didn't know if it actually fit him but it was so good to hear my lovely friend's voice from the other side of the world - even if I was extremely sleepy and confused for a few minutes!!
A few hours later photos appeared on Facebook of the lovely boy wearing his new jacket - it even has some growing room! Yay! 
It is apparently a bit chilly in Australia at the moment so it is perfect for keeping a crawling baby toasty and warm :)

I'm so glad it arrived safely, that it fits and most of all that my gorgeous friend likes it. I do miss her so.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

One Hundred!

Well, as predicted, the pressure of my 100th post got to me! That and the fact that 4 of my current WIPs are secrets, so difficult to find things to share at the moment!

I thought about doing a bit of a round up of my finished projects so far this year, but then decided just to share this pretty EPP with you all instead. I do love a bit of patchwork, and I usually have several different projects on the go. This is quite a big one, long term-ish.
I took almost all my small scraps (from various places around the house!) and turned them into 3/4" hexagons. There are lots. Far more than the little pile in this photo!
Then I started stitching them into sweet little hexagon flowers, completely randomly.
I'm using invisible thread, something I have not tried before. I'm not massively keen on stitching with it, it is very plasticy and gets into funny tangles. It doesn't feel natural to sew with, like I'm fighting against it. But... those tiny little stitches are pretty much invisible - which I love!!
When I've finished making little flowers, there will hopefully be enough of them to sew together for a bit of a furniture make-over. I'm quite excited about it!!


Wednesday, 16 April 2014


I did it! I finished that blanket! It seems like it has taken FOREVER, but in reality it's only been about 6 months - not too bad considering how much other 'stuff' I have going on!!!

I'll be honest, I'm a bit exhausted by it. Now that it is finished I just want to get on with other stuff, not leap doing an excited dance of celebration. So I'll just show you a couple of pics and then go and make something new.
There it is, being all stripey.
And here it is, spread out on our bed - not where it will live as this blanket is for my in-laws, and it will live in Corfu. Lucky blanket.

And yes. Henry got in the photo again. Honestly this cat is in the way ALL OF THE TIME!!!! I know that he was having a wash, but it does look like he is chuckling to himself about sneaking into yet another picture!!

Blogger tells me that this is my 99th post. Now I feel under a HUGE amount of pressure to make post number 100 special. Hmmmm....

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Thursday, 10 April 2014

5 little ducks

Finally - I can share these with you!

I made them for my friend's daughter, for her first birthday. She is such a little cutie, she loves ducks and her favourite colour is pink, so I couldn't resist making these!
My lovely Molly had bought me Knitted Nursery Rhymes by Sarah Keen for Christmas and I hadn't knitted any of the patterns yet, I had looked at them lots, obviously! I knew that there was a pattern for 5 Little Ducks, so knitting them in pink just seemed perfect - silly, but perfect!

I didn't get them finished quite in time, and then I got some horrid germs that I didn't want to pass on, so I've been waiting to gift these little quackers for a couple of weeks. And I couldn't spoil the surprise so I've been waiting to share them here too!
So, these 5 little ducks and their Mama went to their new home yesterday. Little Isobella loved them - I'm pretty sure her mum loved them more though!!!
They were super-fun to knit, I love Sarah Keen's books, her patterns always knit up beautifully and they're so lovely!

Another finish :) But now I must get back to that big blanket. The end is in sight!!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

A present for Molly

Another finish! And this one has been a looong time coming! I started a piece of cross stitch for Molly, ooh, 2 1/2 years ago! It became clear, not long after I started it, that I didn't like it very much. The chart was one of those ones without very clear symbols, one colour was 6 and another was 6 on it's side - bleurgh!! Even enlarged on the photocopier it was hard work to follow.

So, I would pick it up and stitch half a sheep, and then stuff it back behind the sofa for a few months. I kept putting it on my things-I-must-finish lists, but that didn't seem to motivate me!! And then, as so often happens, I just decided, just felt like stitching it, just got on with it. And in no time at all, it was finished! Phew!!
It was originally going to go on her bedroom door, but in that last round of stitching we talked about turning it into a cushion instead. Molly loves cushions and been asking me to make some for her room, so this seemed like a good solution.

I picked out some pretty fabrics to go with the colours of the stitching and whizzed up a cushion front.                                                                                                                             

And a very simple cushion back, look - more sheep!!
And check out my hidden zip!!!! Pretty pleased with that I have to say!!
It was beautifully pressed and looked much neater than this. But I gave it to Molly when the light was bad and I didn't get to take photos straight away. So this is it now, having been slept on for a few nights! At least it shows that she loves it!

Her yellow hexie quilt is looking pretty well loved too - that girl does love a quilt!!


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Mother's Day gifts

Phew! Lots of projects getting finished around here! A couple of them have been secrets, so I've not shared them here on the blog, they may have sneaked their way into Instagram though!

So today is all about place mats. But you'll need a little catch up first.

Waaaay back in April last year, I made a table runner for my mum. She bought all the fabrics, told me what she wanted, I just provided the stitches. It was massive, 2.5m long - she has a big table! I blogged about it here. At the time there was some talk of matching place mats, but, you know how it is. Time slips by, other projects come along, so many other projects.

But then with the hand-made-gift-giving of 2014 I decided that the matching place mats would be a good Mother's Day present. So I dug out the fabrics I had left, took a little trip out to poppy patch where we had bought the fabrics a whole year ago. 

I held my breath a little bit. What if they didn't still have any of the fabrics? What would I do? I understand that, in reality, this is not a MAJOR PROBLEM. But at the time, in my little fabric blur it was AN ISSUE. Fortunately, there was no crying in the fabric shop, they had the exact same backing, the exact same binding and even my choice of extra fabrics for the middle of the mats - PHEW!!!
I set to work using this great tutorial and in next to no time I had 8 place mats :)
I went for easy-peasy straight line quilting, not too close together (I was starting to run out of time!)
I stitched down the fronts of all 8 binding strips, and then began the glorious task of hand-stitching the back of the binding. Just in case anyone thinks I'm being sarcastic here, I'm not. I love this bit. Tiny, neat, hidden stitches all around the back - heaven! 8 times - bliss!!!
Of course, Henry helped A LOT. With every stage, including photographing.

So that's it, 8 place mats all finished. I bundled them into some wrapping paper and took them to my mum's on Sunday. I'm pretty sure she liked them, I left her planning a dinner party.....

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Mini Swoon

At last! I have a finished project to share!

This project began after a Saturday morning stitchy get-together with some lovely ladies. Julie (from button-button) had a huge bag of fabric scraps (sorry Julie, I don't remember where they came from!) They were very small scraps, only really useful for small EPP projects. Julie spread them all out on the table and told us to help ourselves - Oh! What fun!! We each came away with a lovely selection of fabrics and a promise to make a mug rug.
My first though was to try and EPP a tiny swoon block. And I was so silly and excited about it that I didn't tell, I kept it quiet! Later I drew out a tiny swoon pattern just 8" square. Over the next few weeks I wrapped each of the 100 tiny squares and triangles in little scraps of fabric and then stitched them all back together.
I really wanted to hand quilt my little swoon, but it kept getting put aside to work on other things. Then a few weeks ago I pulled it out to take with me to 'Patchwork People' - I needed a little hand sewing project to work on during the day. I bought some beautiful threads when I arrived and then set to work.
It was sooooo much fun to quilt!! It was finished all too soon. 
All I had left to do was stitch down the binding and it was finished! My mini swoon mug rug.
Except, now I really don't think it can be a mug rug. What if I spill tea on it? It's far too beautiful to be ruined by tea stains! 
So now it is a finished mini swoon with no purpose. I may hang it above my sewing machine, start a little collection of pretties to look at while I sew.
Oh, and then this happened when I was taking photos!
Hi Henry! :)