Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunday stash ... and gifts :)

I am trying to curtail my fabric purchases in 2015 and use up my (vast) stash ('Yeah, right', I can hear my friend Fran say as I type!) but I did just have to pick up a few fat quarters at my LQS Liberty Bell recently. They don't all have writing on the selvage so I might have to pop back next week! 

I really love the peachy birds fabric - it's by Irene & Lewis who are new to me but now I've found them, I'm going to look at their Christmas stuff - all looks so delicious! The little red love hearts is 'Under the Mistletoe' by Anni Downs for Henry Glass fabrics and the cream low volume fabric is 'Basically Hugs' by Helen Stubbings for Red Rooster fabrics:

A couple of online purchases from eBay too! This cute birds fabric is Sophia by Makower (think the spots is Makower too): 

And some happy mail in the post on Friday from my dear blogging friend Shauna @ lovinquiltin - four delightful Christmas fat quarters - sent all the way from Canada - no reason ... just because:

Thank you, Shauna, you shouldn't have (but I'm glad you did!) Quilters really are the most generous of friends :)

Let's go and see what everyone else has been buying - then I may not feel so guilty! 

Molli Sparkles

Friday, 2 October 2015

Love, friendship, gratitude ...

I have a very special finish this week; extra special because of the wonderful friend I have made it for. We've been friends since 1996, having met through work. She introduced me and DH in 1998 so we have a lot to be thankful to her for. And because we love Judi so much, it was only fitting the quilt would feature a big heart.

If you've not been on this Robert Kaufman site, you should - lots of great patterns and the pixelated heart was perfect. Apart from the white background squares, all of the coloured fabric was from my stash (some of the fabric has been used in bags, Pants Bags and cushions Judi and her 3 gorgeous girls have had / made with me over the years.) I cut 225 X 4.5" squares but you could make them any size:

I now press my seams open all the time; I have also started to pin differently (after 5 years), I used to put one pin in the centre but now I pin either side of the seam and have found it gives me a much nicer finish: 

Lots of pins here:

And - keeping it real - we all make mistakes! Upside down pinning meant a bit of unpicking:

I'm still not fond of straight line quilting so I decided to stick with what I know:

Binding really is my favourite part of making a quilt - I know, crazy lady! I decided to stick to the same colour as the backing as there's enough colour in the heart:

And speaking of the backing, this panel was so fitting:

And the front - including DH's feet (bless him) - it's perfect:

And the label:

I am so grateful for our friendship, Judi, and I love you so very much xx

Linking up with Amanda Jean @Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah @Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Time well spent ...

On the rare occasions I try and rationalise the amount of time spent on blogging and on Instagram, I am instantly put right by the amount of support and inspiration I get from those 'time-bandits!' Fellow quilters really are the best people, aren't they? So much of what I'm working on at the moment, I wouldn't be if it wasn't for the people I've met or if I didn't receive the help or see the ideas everyone is willing to share.

Over on Instagram, six of us have started a Bee where each person works on a section, then passes it on to the next and so on until the quilt comes back to you with all six sections completed. There are no rules but you are guided by the design of the quilt owner's first block and any colour preferences they suggest. Our tag is #weshouldbeesectioned ... and I definitely thought I was going mad last week when trying to think of what to do!

After reading many great tips on the Internet - just googling 'quilt bee' brought up dozens of fabby ideas - I decided I would go for a seasonal-themed design. Yes, you are correct in your immediate thoughts - there are only 4 seasons - but I'm giving everyone carte blanche to just choose colours or themes that represent their favourite season ... so if I end up with six autumns (my favourite season), so be it.

The finished block is 27" x 21" and is made up of 5 different sized sections (wonderfully organised and put together into a pdf for us all by Julie @mackandmabel) and my first attempts (and a now discarded half dresden plate which will now be made into a cushion!) didn't float my boat:

That's supposed to be an apple in the top left! So, back to the drawing board ... any autumnal block surely has to have a leaf in it so that was easy:

Afterwards, I went back to the dresden plate (because I really like them) and found (in a very old quilt book) what was described as a Grandmother's Fan - only needs a 1/4 of the petals - so that was my next block and, for the strip in between, I just went with some simple blocks out of apple fabric I had in my stash rather than trying to paper piece 3 x 3 1/2" apples:

Now for the bit that made me think I had lost it! I decided to make a paper pieced pumpkin - in the biggest section - an 18" block! What was I thinking?! It's been ages since I'd paper pieced and even then, it was only simple stuff. Ah, what the heck - let's go googling again! And whilst I didn't find a template for exactly what I had in mind, there were plenty of tips and good sites for me to feel confident enough to crack on.

It took a while; I had forgotten about the extra amount of fabric you need to use: 

But by putting that photo on IG, my friend Maria (@sewlovetosew - our Queen Bee) reminded me and eventually (it took hours and hours!) my pumpkin was finished. In the end, I had to make him in 3 sections:

Here he is with the other blocks:

Maria may regret giving me great advice because she gets my block first!! 

And my other finish this week was an 'old and forgotten' group of blocks that I made about 4 years ago and put away because I'd fallen out of like with them:

After putting the photo on IG - 'should I bin or add to and finish? I was so humbled by one of the responses: 'I think someone would be very happy to get this, especially someone who doesn't have much.' (thanks again, Tammy) that it chivvied me along to finally finish it:

Kindly photo-bombed by Nell! And another great use of time on social media is the link ups - thanks to Amanda Jean and Sarah - through their link ups, I have met lots of talented and kind quilters and learnt loads. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Going. Going. Gone!!

Three of my favourite colleagues have retired this year. My Line Manager, Emma, went in April and she received my first finished quilt since breaking my shoulder last year. Simple but sweet:

Then in July my boss, Mike, retired after 37 years and he got my piece de resistance quilt:

And this week, my specialist adviser retired after 30 years so he just had to have a unique quilty gift too! I love to personalise my gifts and Ian was easy to plan for. I tried to pick out non-girly fabrics:

He loves photography and rugby, drinks lots of tea and enjoys the 'occasional' packet of McCoy's crisps with his lunch! Here's the appliqué blocks:

I wanted to try a new free motion quilting pattern (motivated by my friend Jasmine @ Quilt Kisses whose improvement in her FMQing is so inspiring) and got great advice from Angela Walters:

After a little practice (5 minutes!), I just went for it! The swirls were a little crazy to begin with and I went a little bit off with the tails:

Nell offered her advice:

And I just persevered ... the more I did, the easier it got:

Here's the quilting from the back and the label:

And on Tuesday, I handed it over and said goodbye to a dear colleague who will be irreplaceable :'( 

Goodbye, thank you and good luck, Ian:

Linking up with the lovely Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts and Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Birthday quilty gifts :)

I'm not sure when I was 4 if my Mum's crazy quilting friend had made me a quilt for my birthday, I'd have known what to say but I know this little girl will adore her birthday quilt from Aunty Jennifer and will know exactly what to do with it! I made this quilt for her Mum and Dad as a wedding gift and she cuddles under it all the time:

Oh, and makes tents with it!! So, I know she will love this - my own improv design, using charm squares, a couple of fat quarters and all that lovely pink is Makower Spraytime (my favourite blenders - they have a great range of colours) and I finished it just in time for her moving into her 'big girl's bedroom':

And I still have fun making binding:

And it was her Mormar's (Grand-mother) birthday a couple of weeks back and I made her this cute Dresden plate tote bag. I'm enjoying practising these free-motion swirls:

This weekend, I'm hoping to finish a quilt I started last week - got the idea out of my favourite new quilting magazine - Love Patchwork and Quilting (enjoying making this so much, will do a full post later):

What are you working on this weekend? Are you trying something new?

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Holidays and high days :)

What a great week we've had. When we moved to Wales last year. we were a little worried we might lose touch with our friends in London but we are blessed to have the best friends and five of them came to visit us this week. The weather was a little temperamental but look how glorious it was at the top of Beeston castle yesterday:

Aren't they a beautiful family? We also had a wonderful day out at Llandudno; a walk along the Pier, fish and chips on the Prom, a ride on the tramway up the mountain, ice cream in the rain and my most favourite part?? The 2p push machine in the arcade - the most fun I've had with £3 in ages:

And I managed to get some sewing done too! The girls were desperately in need of new Pants Bags. The ones I had made them a few years back were well used (and loved) but were also not of my best earlier work - unlined and without a drawstring action - so each girl was let loose in my fabric stash and they chose their own fabrics and created their own designs. My friend Judi also asked for a Peg Bag and Millie wanted to make her Nanna a zipped bag so I helped her with that:

I showed Millie how to make the tissue holders and gave her some templates and fabric so that she could make them at home. They were only home an hour and she sent me a photo of one she has already made for her big sister. Clever girl:

And also for my dear friend, I had made her a cushion - just for her - just because:

When they drove away today, my eyes were a little moist :'( but we will see them again soon. I am very thankful they are in our lives and it was a most fabulous holiday ... thank you, dear friends xx

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict.