Monday, 12 October 2015

Ever feel like giving up?

Let me tell you I've felt a lot like that lately!

My sewing just isn't happening, I barely have time to keep on top of my day job at the shop and the usual boring housekeeping stuff, exercise has completely disappeared from my life and my eating habits are not good!

I've been really stretched by recent sewing projects for reasons I cannot even explain! Is it just me that makes the same mistake over  and over until the penny drops? My first few Farmers Wife 1930's blocks all too often looked like this:

I'm also finding that as the blocks are sooo time consuming I've already fallen behind schedule! Grrr!

My poor My Small World QAL is still at Stage One (oh it's just laughable isn't it?!!)

On the plus though I've finished quilting a long overdue quilt for a friend and started piecing another quilt!!!

Does anyone else struggle with this? Any tips to get me through? I feel like everyone gets lots of sewing in and I'm just a disaster!!!

Answers on a postcard please.......

Monday, 5 October 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt-Along: Block 8 Aunt

When Kerry first announced she was going to be organising the Quilt-Along for this gorgeous book, I jumped at the chance to be a guest blogger.

I've had the original Farmer's Wife book on my shelf for what seems like forever but I've never dared jump in, the blocks just seemed too small and fiddly to me! This time around and with a couple more years sewing experience under my belt, I felt a real urge to make a commitment to this Quilt-Along!

Block number 8 is Aunt and it's a real easy block! This was a huge relief to me as I've found the last couple of blocks really hard. (I'll be blogging about that later in the week if you're interested!)

For my block I decided to go for a deep purple from Tula Pink's True Color's collection paired with a gorgeous peachy pink solid that I got in a bundle from Westwood Acres. 

I love the colours in this bundle and am using it as a starting point for the fabrics in my quilt, which will be mainly from my stash but sticking closely to this pretty colour scheme!

For the Quilt-Along I've decided to paper piece all the blocks. I'm no paper-piecing expert but I figured I will be by the end of the year! For this block the only key point to remember is the orientation of your chosen fabrics, especially if you are using any that are directional like I did. 

To secure my first fabric I always use a little glue from my Sewline Glue Pen and I've also started to pin on the sewing line between fabrics, just so that I can check my fabric covers the required area when I flip it right side over. I made some repetitive mistakes on the earlier blocks and this trick seems to have stopped that!

I also make full use of my add a quarter ruler when I'm paper piecing. This ruler has a quarter inch lip down one side that can butt up to your pattern, allowing you to trim all your over-hangs and seam allowance to a quarter inch! It's so quick and easy!

So there you have it, I'll post my other blocks as they're completed over the next few days and weeks and I'll be guest posting again in a few weeks time!

Why not head over to Kerry's blog and catch up on all the weekly Farmer's Wife 1930's Quilt-Along posts and see the gorgeous blocks everyone is making? You can also check out the #fw1930sqal on Instagram to be really inspired by all the gorgeous blocks!

Monday, 14 September 2015

A Little Sewing

Now that we're all settling back into the routine that the new school term brings, I've found a little time for some sewing.

I'm trying to work on some longstanding WIP's as well as new projects and sewing for the shop too, lots on the go always!!

I've found time to finish up this gorgeous pin cushion kit that the lovely Jessie sent me, if you don't know her, Jessie owns the gorgeous fabric shop Sew and Quilt and has just released her own range of paper pieces.

This gorgeous hexie flower pin cushion is available as a kit in her shop now, along with many other lovely kits and paper pieces.

Whilst we're talking paper pieces, I've also been working on my New Hexagon Mille Fiore Quilt, I've almost got Rosette 1 completed!!

The first rosette when complete is a huge 36" in diameter, the photo shows the rosette minus the final round. Those hexagons are been pieced currently.
I need to prep 12 hexagons like the one above and 6 of a different variety before I can add them to the rosette to complete it!
I'm so happy that I chose this mille fiore quilt along over the others that are out there, it's much less fiddly as the pieces are so much bigger!!
I've also begun working on my 1930's Farmers Wife Quilt-A-Long but I'll share those blocks in a post later in the week. This year long QAL commenced today and you can check out Kerry's & Wynn of Zakka Art's blog posts to keep you going!


Monday, 7 September 2015

September already?

I really cannot believe how fast the summer has flown by, can you?

Here's a re-cap of what happened over my summer.....

Luke Haynes came and taught at my shop Simply Solids!

We had a great family holiday to Cornwall.

That included a night at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant for our wedding anniversary! Yummy yum yum!

 I've done a fair bit of sewing, including mini quilt swaps, blocks for me Beehive Bee and some English Paper Piecing! I've nearly finished the 1st rosette of the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt.

I also made and gifted this St Louis 16 Patch quilt, made from my much loved stash of Anna Maria Horner fabrics. The recipient was my nephew and his girlfriend and the occassion was the death of their son, my little nephew, Elliot. Elliot had won his battle with Leukaemia last year but he could not fight off meningitis and his life support had to be turned off on June 17th, that horrific day will stay with me forever. I made this quilt in the following days to try and keep myself busy and I know it will keep Elliot's mum and dad warm when they need a hug!

So what happened over your summer?


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Stash Busting Blog Hop!

Hello! It's my turn on this fabulous blog hop today and can I just say how much I adore the two books on this hop!

I was so excited when I realised that a few of my online stitchy friends had projects in the 50 Fat Quarter Makes book! I of course used this to my advantage and got contributor Jo Avery to answer a few questions about the book and her projects.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I've been making quilts for over 25 years and I did my first EPP hexy project (a clutch bag for my mum!) when I was only 10.
4 years ago I turned a hobby into a business by opening a craft studio and shop in Edinburgh. I teach here most weekends and weekday evenings and we also have a small online shop selling fabric and wool. As well as patchwork and general sewing I also teach crochet, embroidery and sock knitting - all crafting loves of mine! I've been writing myBearpaw blog for the last 6 years and am also a regular contributor to both Love Patchwork and Quilting and Quilt Now magazines. In my spare time (!) I organise the annual Stitch Gathering Modern Quilt Retreat in Edinburgh. This year I have been taking my workshops 'on tour' around the UK and beyond and I am especially looking forward to visiting Simply Solids HQ in June to teach Cathedral Windows!
On a more personal note I am married with 2 grown up sons and 2 cats and we live on a smallholding called Shangri-La Farm where we grow trees and generally commune with nature! 

2) How did you decide what projects to contribute to the book?

Contributors were asked to suggest projects that could be made from different amounts of fat quarters (so 1 FQ, 2-3 FQS, 4-6 FQs and so on). The editor was trying to avoid project repeats and already had a couple of quilts so I had to come up with different ideas for patchwork (as I'm not much of a dressmaker!) like the reversable Celebration Table Runner and the Farmyard Playmat. Also I managed to get a mini quilt in by making it a wall hanging! And then I needed a couple of smaller items that just used 1 or 2 FQ's. I've made a fair few notebook holders over the years and they are a great gift so I included one of these and added some applique mini hexies to make it a bit more special. The hardest bit was thinking of something you can make with just one FQ! In the end I made a small drawstring bag, personalised with an initial made out of buttons, as a really special gift bag.

3) Any top tips for new sewers?

Expect to be slightly disappointed when you try out something new.  I find a lot of beginners have really high expectations and get frustrated with themselves when they are just getting started. look on that first thing you make as a practice piece and be prepared to try out a new technique a few times before you are happy with it. Don't be too hard on yourself! Even if you have been sewing for years and years you will still make mistakes, but that's because you are a human being not a robot, and any little errors will just add to the handmade charm. Or if all else fails pretend you are Amish, they always had a deliberate error in all their quilts because only God can make something perfect (at least that was their excuse!).

4) What's your favourite fabric designer / line of fabric?

My favourite fabric designer is Denyse Schmidt. I am totally in love with Franklin and am just about to start a new quilt using the whole line. I love how cohesive her lines are, you can tell she designs them with quilters in mind. I think Flea Market Fancy is my all time favourite but I also loved Chicopee, Florence and Hadley. I'm also a huge fan of everything Cori Dantini and Carolyn Friedlander do. And a special mention for our own Karen Lewis, I've just finished making a quilt with her screen printed fabrics and they were a joy to work with.

I've got to say the top 2 projects I'll be trying from the book are Jo's farm playmat 

and this super cute twirly swirly skirt made from just 2 fat quarters! I already have them picked out!


If you'd like to see the other stops on the blog hop please head here. There's a great competition to enter over there too!

These two books are just full of great projects, lots of eye candy and I love them both! I'd really recommend you getting them! If you're local to my shop Simply Solids in Huddersfield then Jo is bringing signed copies of the book to her evening talk on June 12th and will be teaching a Cathedral Windows Quilt class on Saturday 13th.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mini Quilt Heaven!

Since the start of the New Year I've signed up for a number of Mini Quilt Swaps over on Instagram! They were all so tempting I just couldn't say 'No' despite my heavy work load and family commitments!

The first swap has just come to an end and was the #rainbowminiswap. If you search the hashtag over on Instagram you'll see all the lovely mini's that were swapped around the world. 

These swaps are basically blind so you know who you are making for but you don't know who is making for you - exciting right? The idea is you stalk your partner across social media so you get a feel for their style and then make a mini to suit them. Here's the Rainbow Mini I made my partner Janine all the way from Australia!

I went for a Rainbow Churn Dash which I love! The background is Sketch Black/White and the Churn Dash are made out of Confetti Dots, both from Timeless Treasures. The mini is then quilted in Aurifil #4660 Pink Taffy which is variegated. I included a pouch filled with some fabric scraps, a couple of mini spools of Aurifil and some Soak Mini's. 

The same day that I posted my mini the Postman brought me my mini! How weird is that?

Isn't she a beauty? My partner Claire got it just right with the solids and the Anna Maria Horner fabric! I love it so much I'm going to put it up in the shop on our mini quilt wall! 

My next swap mini is for the #ukminiswap and this is what I'm working on

It's an English Paper Pieced mini using a Wafer pattern designed by my friend Reene who blogs at Nellies Niceties. I'm using Priory Square fabric which is from Art Gallery and available in my shop here if you like it!

I've started the quilting and this parcel will be wrapped up and posted by Monday next week!

As you can see I use a Hera marker for making my quilt lines, the tool basically puts a crease in the fabric which you then use as a guide for your quilting, genius right!

That's as much as I'm going to share on this swap before I post it as I don't want my partner to have seen it all before it arrives!

Finally for today a heads up my Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt is in Issue 10 of Quilt Now magzine! Woo Hoo!

I loved making this quilt and it really made a dent in my scrap bucket which is always a good thing! If you'd like to buy a copy of the magazine please head here but be quick as they never stick around long!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Weeks gone by

The weeks are flying by in 2015 don't you think?

I've got so much done these last few weeks apart from blogging it seems! Here's some of what I've been up to on the fabric and sewing front!

 I've had a couple of fabric purchases from PolkaDotTea Fabrics which is a great little Etsy Store run by my lovely quilting friends Danielle and Jeanette. My favourite of these was 'Lighthearted' by Ayumi Mills (bottom right), I Love Love Love this line!!!

I've also had some fun times with my famalam

The big news on the family front this month is that my little cousin in New Zealand got herself hitched! My folks went to the wedding but we couldn't do it with Jett been so young, I'm gutted about that but I really wouldn't have coped all that way with a newborn, a toddler and a child with additional needs!! Needless to say Hunter has spent a lot of time working at the shop as my folks haven't been around for daycare, he loves it at the shop, good job really!!

We've puddle jumped and rode on Donkey's and had a wild time at a party celebrating World Down Syndrome Day!

Jett is changing so much at the minute:

He looks massive at the side of my niece Fearne!! He's teething all the time so he's got those rosy red cheeks and is mouthing at everything! He's loving his Jumperoo too!

Hope you've enjoyed a peek into what's been happening round here the last few weeks! I'll try not to leave it so long next time!!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Little Lady Liberty Giveaway Winner...

As promised I've drawn the winner from the comments on my last post. Mr Random.Org chose comment number 7!

I've emailed the winner and her book will be sent directly from the publisher!

Congratulations and enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Little Lady Liberty - Blog Hop!

I'm really pleased to have been asked to take part in this blog hop for Alice Caroline's book as I'd been having a peek at this beautifully styled book on the interwebs for a little while!

The blog hop has been happening all month and has been to some really great blogs with a couple more to go too, the rest of the month looks like this:

Thurs 26th - Tracey Jay Quilts
Fri 27th - Feather's Flights
Sat 28th - Monkey Do
Sun 29th - Miss Print
Tues 31st - Sew Scrumptious

If you want to see where the blog has been already check out the full line up here

Now for those of you who know me well you'll realise that although I love the idea of pretty Liberty fabric, I never sew with it! I have three sons, flowers don't fit somehow, not even with my twelve year old daughter! However I am still drawn to beautiful Liberty prints and the gorgeous styling of this book sucked me right in!

In particular it was this image in the book that I was completely smitten with, such a beautifully styled bedroom and a million miles away from the reality of my tween daughter's! The huge floor cushion really spoke to me so yes, I've decided to bite the bullet and sew my daughter some Liberty!

I had my friend Jo over at Greene Stitch Co put me together a little kit to make the floor cushion and I'll be sewing it up this weekend! I'll do another post when it's pieced to show the finished product! 

This is a great book for all you Liberty lovers out there, there are some lovely projects in it from home decor to clothing and everything is suitable for beginners as the instructions are very well written.

If you'd like to be entered into a draw to win a copy of this book please leave a comment below telling me which little lady you'll be sewing for! Please make sure you're not a no reply commenter!

Competition closes  midnight Sunday 29th March 2015.
Winner Announced Monday 30th March 2015.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A new arrival!

Look who arrived!

Meet Fearne Rena Mullins my little baby niece! How cute is she?

 Doesn't Jett look huge at the side of her??!!

Since my last post we've been spending some quality time with my little brother's new family and I've been working away on lots of secret sewing!

These sneek peeks are about all I can show you! I'm planning on doing some not so secret sewing this evening, I promise to share that with you soon!

Finally I wanted to share this great photo I took at the weekend at my shop Simply Solids

Its the very lovely Karen Lewis teaching her screen printing class, some great pieces came out of a fun afternoon I can tell you! If you're interested in sewing lessons and craft sessions why don't you have a look at our schedule?
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