Friday, 9 November 2012

Brit Bee October

I got to work on my super delayed blocks for Susan this week; I had my block all chosen about a month ago, but I have taken forever to get started on it. Susan asked for a star block, for her month in the Bee and I chose the Desperate Housewife's Star from Quilt Jane.

Once I started my foundation paper piecing, I remembered how much I love it (although, not so much picking all the paper out of the backs!) and as Susan had asked for many different sizes of block, I decided to do some extras for her. For my second block I decided to do another Rocky Road to Kansas from Fresh Lemons, at 50% of the normal template size, along the same lines as the one I did for Laura in Round 1.

And I couldn't stop there, my final block is another reduced size block; a corruption of Fresh Lemons' Evening Star, initially I intended to just replace the coloured corners with more background fabric, but part way through piecing and cutting I realised that I didn't have enough Kona Coal to finish, after much unpicking; I replaced the central background fabrics for some more star fabrics and had JUST enough Kona to finish it off!

These blocks are now winging their way back to Susan, not quite in time.

J x

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Swooning Along Nicely

I have been working on my Swoon quilt this week and have made some gentle but steady progress on my block list (current count: 6/9!!!) and my latest Audible book; The Passage by Justin Cronin which makes for one happy girl.

In other sewing related news I am making progress on Bee blocks, but no pictures to show yet - Susan, I'm sorry; I promise it will be with you soon, October totally ran away with me :(

J x

Monday, 29 October 2012

Time to Swoon

So, I have had the fabric designated to be my Swoon quilt for months now and last week I finally decided that it was going to be my next quilt- I have been umm-ing and arr-ing for too long and decided that enough was enough and that it was time to just get on with it and make something; so Swoon it is!

This is probably the start of the girliest quilt I could have imagined and is definitely the girliest I have made, but Amy Butler was the first pattern writer/ fabric designer I heard of (back before I started quilting) and I love her, so it's time I used some of her fabric.

I have been cutting and piecing all weekend and I am very pleased to be able to show my first 2 Swoon blocks, the beginnings of my 3rd AND I have the rest all cut out and waiting (well not quite "all" as I ran out of patience cutting the white so I only have about half of that cut and ready, but at least that's enough to keep me going for a little while!)

I have been following the progress of the Swooning group on Flickr for a long time, but I haven't noticed anyone currently making a Swoon (I am a little slow, they have probably mostly moved on now) so imagine my surprise to read that 2 of my fellow Brit Bees are also in the midst of making some Swoons too. So, I am looking forward to following their progress to spur me on :)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

I have been working from home this morning and there is no better place, for comfort, than the sofa with a cosy new quilt for doing some research.

It's also a great place for some paper piecing, and I now have a total of 2 blocks to show for it too!

Loving the progress, all around!

J x

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Jennie's Crab Shack Charm

After designing the back of this quilt with Lucy's Crab Shack fat quarters in mind I had to give up on my design as I couldn't find the co-ordinating Kona solids on a single UK website, instead I took my finished quilt top to my LQS and dug out the best co-ordinating navy to finish the quilt top with a bold frame and I wanted a bright pattern for the back.

This is a simple and bold quilt that was really easy to put together; I especially enjoyed using whole charm squares as it helped me to make sure my seam allowance was accurate.

The finished quilt is around 60" square, perfect size for two to snuggle on the sofa!

J x

Monday, 1 October 2012

Fresh Sewing Day - October

Despite the fact that I feel that I haven't stopped sewing in the last few weeks, I don't seem to have much to shown for Fresh Sewing Day.

1. Porthole Windows - finished quilt
2. Jennie's Crab Shack Charm - finished quilt
3. EPP Rose Star block 1
4. Matching iPhone 5 cases

Linking to Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet

J x

Porthole Windows

Woohoo; 100% complete!

I finally finished this ginormous quilt last week and it is so big I can't hold it up alone; even Chris struggled to hold it up for the photograph.

I am so happy to have this quilt sitting on my bed, as my first full size quilt, it has been really exciting!

J x

Monday, 24 September 2012

Basting and Quilting

I spent quite a few hours finishing my portholes quilt this weekend; just the binding to finish off today now; I have really enjoyed this quilt but I just want to get it finished and on the bed now...

Happy Weekend

J x

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Pillow Talk

PTS9 is starting up, sign ups are open until thursday, and I am torn- I have been watching the Pillow Talk swaps since I started quilting and I thought that this would finally be my year to join in, but the standard is so exceptionally high that I don't know if I can play with the big boys yet...

I know it is an international swap, but I have been looking online to see if I can read anything written by a previous UK participant, has anyone been involved before? What's it like?

I really want to play but I am not sure if I want to take part in another swap... and coming up to christmas too :(

So I am trying to decide whether I should just make a pillow for myself in a Parallel-Pillow-Talk-Non-Swap that way I...
1. get myself a pretty pillow
2. don't have to stress if I make a mess/ miss the deadline
3. know that whatever I make my partner will enjoy
4. not have to go shopping for the latest fabric.

It kinda seems like win-win to me, but am I just being chicken? Long story short; I want to join the Pillow Talk Swapping, but I don't want to do it right now. I have raided my pinterest boards to create a nice little mosaic for myself and my non-swap (I haven't included any links on flickr as I hate that part but if you want to link to the original posts they can all be found on my pinterest boards here... I wonder what my partner will choose?!

Rant over, I think I will pass for one more season. Sorry for a minimum amount of pictures in this post, but obedience class sucked up my evening tonight but some more Porthole Windows is on the cards for tomorrow.

J x

ps. I discovered Audible last week and downloaded my first ever paid audio book; Stephen King's Bag of Bones, it was great company during my many hours at the sewing machine (over 30!) so I am onto my next book tomorrow; Vanishing Point by Val McDermid.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Porthole Windows Top - Check!

Just a quick update before bed with an update of my progress on my Porthole Windows Quilt top over the weekend...

On Friday, I had to go shopping for some extra fabric as I ended up making the top a lot bigger than I had originally intended (in fact I am currently expecting this to be my first king size quilt- quilting this is going to be a challenge!) while I was there I picked up fabric for backing and binding too.

I NEEDED more blue and green solid fabric and I NEEDED extra of 2 of my prints, I also intended to get an extra half yard of the other two prints, just in case.

Friday night I wanted to complete the bones of all of my reverse cathedral windows blocks, in fact I managed only half- but that was the most time consuming and awkward bit of the process for 8 blocks in 2 hours, so not too bad at all.

Saturday, I finished off all 15 reverse cathedral windows and started playing with the layout.

Sunday started with adding the borders to the reverse cathedral windows.

Before finishing some time this evening to piece the quilt top.

We don't seem to have had much sunshine today, but hopefully I will be able to take a full length photo of the completed top tomorrow after work (if there is any daylight left) in the meantime this is a quick shot of the folded top, with my chosen backing (navy) and binding (green with navy dots)

Now my pile of quilt tops is starting to build up; I need to get to quilting asap- plus I want to play with this one :)

J x

Friday, 14 September 2012

Reverse Cathedral Windows - A Tutorial

Today I have been working on a mash up of a video tutorial I found online for 3d Faux Cathedral Windows by QuiltBugs, but I have made quite a few changes, so to remind myself of the process I thought I would have a go at writing it out.

I have long admired Cathedral Window Quilts and one day I am sure I will tackle my own, with Hyena In Petticoats' tutorial but in the meantime I thought a version of Cathedral Windows using just the diamond section would make a great contrast to my portholes; I plan to use them in a checkerboard arrangement for my Porthole Windows Quilt.

To start,
cut 4 no. 5 1/2" squares (in white, for background)
cut 1 no. 8" square (solid, for frame)
cut 1 no. 4 1/4" square (patterned, for window)

Normally, to figure out these dimensions;
for the background fabric, you would take the desired finished block size, halve it and add 2/4" for the seam allowance.
for the frame fabric, minus a 1/4" seam allowance from the background fabric size and then double it.
for the window fabric, this is the same as a single background piece.
This would give you a block in which the diamond shape extends to each side, (minus seam allowances) thus when multiple blocks are aligned you will get a cathedral window style pattern. Unlike with my dimensions, in which the diamond shape is central and floating within the block.

First, fold the frame fabric in half, with the folded edge away from you, place the first of the background squares behind the frame fabric with the open corners matching (1) - in the original example this gives you 1/4" of the background fabric showing from underneath, but in my example it is much more. Then, place the second background square in line, on top to finished the sandwich (2) sew down the side indicated with a quater inch seam allowance.

Repeat for the other side (3) and press the seams aside. (4)

Next, align the 4 background squares into a 4 patch, with the unfolded frame edge facing up, (5) pin the top opening closed (6) and sew a 1/4 seam allowance to join the 4 squares together (7) be sure to align the frame fabric as closely as possible with the background fabric as you want to sew through all 4 layers at once.

Press the seams to the side (8) and flip over, (9) at this point the diamond will only be attached to the background along the central lines. 

Lay the window fabric on point, centrally, within the frame diamond, (10) fold and pin the edges of the frame around the window fabric; (11) sew these in place for your finished block! (12)

Hopefully, I will have a full set of these to share tomorrow.

J x 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Fresh Sewing Day - September

I have been very lax about posting lately, and honestly I have kind of enjoyed the freedom it has afforded me, but at least it means I have plenty to share;

Jennie's Crab Shack Charm - (fabric won in a giveaway from Judith @ NeedlesandLemons) top done.

I love this fabric so much more than I ever expected to, I have ordered my batting, backing and sashing and may get a chance to quilt it this weekend. But we have a mad collie coming to stay with us for a few weeks and she arrives this weekend so I am expecting some crazy early days :)

Brit Quilt Swap - pieced, quilted, bound and posted.

It took me too long to get started on my swapping quilt, but

Portholes, portholes, everywhere - more blocks complete. (9 down, 5 to go)

I am still loving portholes, thank you Lucy, and am making some progress on my own porthole quilt, I changed my mind about how to finish of this top this week but I will share the details in a later post. I have a couple of blocks done and have the fabric selected for the rest, so now for the easy bit...

Brit Bee July - pieced and sent out
block 1
block 2

July's Brit Bee asked for some quiet, neutral tone-on-tone blocks with a small traditional zappy block to fit into it. For block 1 I kept it simple and I have long admired this block, but for block 2 I wanted something a little different, although this is not technically a traditional block (to the best of my knowledge) I wanted the zappy block to be a part of the larger neutral block; it turned out just as I had hoped.

Sizzix Workshop Pieces - pieced.

At the Festival of Quilts, I stopped by the Sizzix workshop, so I got to have a little play and cut these fabrics out; it was great to play with and I do love a drunkards path/ retro flowers pattern, but I am not really keen on this fabric so I don't know what to do with it? At least piecing these was great practice for this months Brit Bee, really helped me to get back into the swing of things.

Ok, so it's not really finished...

I still have all of these to put together; but it's a start :)

Brit Bee August - delayed, but pieced.

I got completely behind with this month's block as Chris and I had a holiday booked for the end of august to celebrate our birthdays but before we went I HAD to finish my Brit Quilt for the swap and it sucked up my Bee time, sorry Katy! But it is finished now and off to Katy, if she forgives me.

Brit Bee September - done, ahead of deadline.

Churn Dash blocks for Laura, I love these simple graphic designs that seem to be really popular at the moment but Laura's colour choices are always so exciting- these turned out really great!

So busy, busy, busy here, I am off to get on with my Portholes and order more yummy fabric!

J x

ps. in other news I have started playing foursquare, are there any other users out there?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

BQS3 Finish

I have been a little lax in posting this summer, so expect a catch up post anyway, in the meantime one thing that does deserve an entire post all to itself is my Brit Quilt Swap. I signed up months ago without thinking too much about it and was matched with a great partner who had a lot of the same images in her favourites that I did.

You can see the progress photos on flickr in my Brit Quilt group, but my final design looked like this...

And in return I was sent this FABULOUS mini quilt from Hilly Filly...

AND I even received these lovely goodies too!!!

Thank you again Teresa for a perfect mini quilt!

J x

Friday, 6 July 2012

Weekend Walks: The Barbican

I went to the Bauhaus exhibition at the Barbican last weekend, and wanted to share a couple of my favourite pieces, so I can know where to find them again :)

My favourite pieces (in no particular order,) were;
Paul Keler - Stain Glass Window Designs (1922-23)
Laslo Moholy-Nagy - Composition Q iv
Kandinsky - Circle in a Circle
Gunta Stolzl - Tapestry and Working Drawing (1924)
Hedwig Jungnick - Rug (1921)
Paul Citroen - Metropolis

The image above is Jungnick's rug, I couldn't resist trying to take a photo of it so I didn't forget it and I am so glad I did because I can't find one like it with a quick google search. As the largest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK in over 40 years, it was fantastic to have the opportunity to see the classics side by side with some pieces I had never heard of.

Kandinsky's Circles in a Circle and Metropolis;

I was hoping for a larger selection of architectural and furniture works to be on display and was expecting a more Miesian influence, but the early, craft works more than made up for it. If you are in London before the 12th August; it comes highly recommended (and take a few minutes to wander around the Barbican too, while you are there- its breath taking!)

J x

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

WIP Wednesday

This is my first WIP Wednesday for a long long time, and I figure I better start again cos my wips are threatening to run away with me!

1. Curio Quilt
lots of progress has been made on this one since I last linked up, but I am still less than half way to having a quilt top so must keep going.

2. Bee Portraits
I have received all my tops back, but I haven't done any work on putting them together yet.

3. Nicey Bees
I completely forgot about this quilt until I unpacked my Bee Portraits at the weekend; I started it back in June last year but I gave up on it somewhere near september, I seriously need to catch up and get it finished off; especially as round two has started!

4. Portholes
I committed to myself to doing a whole quilt of these when I saw the opportunity to do Lucie's class at the retreat; I have all the fabrics to finish a top and I have block 1 done.

5. Twin Quilt
Originally this was intended to be the back of my very first quilt, but I decided it would be too difficult to accurately match front and back for my initial foray into quilting so I split it into two semi-matching quilts, I finished off the first one before christmas as a practice for quilting before I attempted my god-daughter's but this one has been languishing in its little bag since then!

Intended Quilts - Fabric Bought, No Progress
6. Swoon
I bought the fabric to do my swoon months ago when everyone was swooning-along, but I didn't buy any backing fabric so I never got going.

7. Pinwheels
As above, I chose my exciting prints and didn't bother with the backing so I couldn't start (then I got sucked into Curio and time flew away with me!)

8. Crab Shack Charm
I want to get started on this one asap, I think a quick and easy top is a perfect way to re-energise myself

9. Blitzen Granny Sqaures
I was luck yenough to received some tiny squares of Blitzen in my goody bag at the retreat (anyone know what the official phrase is for these?) and amazingly Judith put some in as extras with my Crab Shack, as I haven't jumoed on the Granny Square band wagon yet this seems to be a perfect time to join in.

Wow, I knew I had let things slip, but not this much. It feels great to have it all written down though and I didn't even mention my Brit Quilt that is supposed to be what I am working on this summer! Fingers crossed for a magic fairy to come see me this week and have I 9 finished quilts by next WIP Wednesday what do you think? :D

J x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Fresh Sewing Day July

June has been a very interesting month in our house which has involved a fair bit of catching up with commitments from May, but not much sewing has been achieved. :(

In fact it has been primarily Bee blocks, with the completion of blocks from April, May and June all completed this month and off on their way home. I also made more headway on my Curio quilt which is a bit of pain to keep getting out and packing up all the bits are so cumbersome.

I have also signed up to the Brit Quilt swap, which I am pretty excited about and I have made some concrete plans for my Crab Shack winnings; I see way too many quilts in my future :) but I'm sure that's not a bad thing.

And as I am a pretty small blog I will also be linking up to the Small Blog Meet Up and going over to say hi to everyone... "Hi guys!"

J x

Saturday, 30 June 2012

What to do?

I was lucky enough to win TWO charm packs of Lucy's Crab Shack from Judith last week, look at the lovilieness!

(image from

It arrived in my letterbox yesterday, but I have been thinking about what to do with them all week, I could do with a nice easy to put together top and I was thinking about a simple charm quilt a la Red Pepper Quilts

Then I though half square triangles like this one, from Fran433;

That way I could make my charms go further and make myself a nice big quilt! But when have I ever gone for the easy option? I have been thinking that maybe HSTs aren't detailed enough so I was thinking string HSTs...

(I found this example by Sew Cherry on flickr)

That would still allow me to get 2 blocks for each charm, but it could be an awful lot of work for my 'quick and simple' quilt, then I saw this;

and now I am completely confused!

What do you think, do you have any other inspiration for me? (Not that I need any, mind!) I would love to hear what you think about it.

J x

Oooh and just so I don't forget, I also love this pattern from Sweetwater!