Finished Quilts

Thursday, 10 April 2014


I appear to be sabotaging myself at the moment.  I bought some new bathroom scales at Christmas (they were a bargain!) and at some point in the last month or so, they told me I was below a certain number that had been my solid buddy for the past 10 years or so.  Naturally I was delighted and celebrated liberally with cake!  That certain number and I have since been reunited.

The same seems to be happening with my sewing.  Cake is sometimes involved too.  Anyway, I'm determined to sort it out and have a plan (a bullet journal list if you will - never one to knowingly avoid a sewista bandwagon!). It coincides with a number of random days leave scattered through the next few weeks.  But in order to firm up the plan, I need to get my arse in gear clear the decks of bee blocks.  After much procrastination, here goes....

Bumbling honeys bee block(s) for Mary:

a bit wonky 
An example of sabotage, I was cutting and making two of these blocks for Mary and I was getting tired and I knew I should have stopped and left it for the next day but I decided to push on and finish the cutting at least.  As I was saying these words in my head, I put a pile of fabric on the board and cut into 2 equal 2.5 inch square blocks, only to realise that it was the wrong pile of fabric AFTER the cut was made. Exhibit A...

My dear sewistas....learn from my mistakes and listen to your inner quilty goddess and stop when she tells you ok! Mary, of course, has been a real angel about my mistakes and the one and a half fairly wonky blocks she got from me.

Keeping on the Bumbling Honey's vibe, April's Bee Mama is Jo and she asked us to make blocks for the Soy Amado quilt block drive....

lovely fabrics as usual from Jo
April, I hear you say!  Yep, don't faint - I finished these in the month.  They are not late!  I may faint a little bit, in a corseted Victorian lady way.

Next up, the Friends with Additions bee.  I had three sets of blocks on my cutting table and so was mightily embarrassed.  I sabotaged myself with the first lot (for Deanna) by deciding on a block and then fannying about humming and hawing about it for a few weeks too long only to return to the initial design.  It's meant to be under wraps but I'm a bit bored of sneak peaks now and am pretty sure Deanna doesn't read m'blog so here goes:

pp'd trees
Deanna loves hummingbirds and trees.  Someone else has already made a beautiful hummingbird block so I got some fabric with hummingbirds on and used it in the trees.  Here's the blocks altogether...

nice coherent colour palette I think
Blocks are back on their travels.  I'm half way through block(s) for Christine, which will head off to Switzerland this weekend and that leaves Cindy's then I'm up to date!  Until May!

Here's a little something that always makes me smile (and jump around a lot - the wee man gets quite scared then he joins in!)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

the gift of giving

In a blatant move to avoid some seriously late bee blocks (top of the list now I promise), my sewing over the past week or so has focused on gifts.  Latest finish but first up, my dearest friend hit some dizzy heights last year after a hard slog and I've only now managed to make something to say how proud I am of her....

I got the exterior fabric from Spoonflower - it's by Patty Sloniger and the flowers are pretty big (5.5" tall).  I wanted to showcase them so needed to draft a pattern that would be big enough to do so.  Cue lots of googling and remembering that the best tutorials helping you draft your own pattern are from Rebecca Lynne, Lisa UHandbag and the lovely Emily.  Using all three, I managed to make something that fit really well into the frame (7" x 3.5"). I meant to square off the corners but in my excitement, I forgot #oops.

The interior fabric was gifted to me by a lady with a beautiful soul and it felt right to use it for someone who is similarly blessed.  That makes me insanely happy.  I just need to wait for the glue to dry so I can clean up the frame before sending it on its way.

Next up, a gift for the kitty fabric lady who had a significant birthday recently - it was a bit late (obvs.) but it has been received so I can show it now....

mirror balls and tula!
I bought the mirror ball fabric from Kerry and promptly forgot all about it until our recent guild get together where it was handed over.  The Tula Pink was also gifted to me, this time by the lovely Liz,  so again it felt right to use it here.  Again, I had to make a new pattern for this frame.  I had the baguette purse pattern from Lisa UHandbag already but that is for a smaller frame (6"x3") so I took a punt and printed it out at 110% and just went for it.  It worked out pretty well, shockingly, just some little puckers along the top where it was slightly too long for the frame but the sides fitted perfectly, which has always been my issue with that pattern so #phew. In my rush to get it in the post, I wrapped it and posted it before realising that I hadn't done the glue picking part or added the couple of little mindings that I had sorted. I'm such a numpty.

Finally, our next door neighbours have been having some big kitchen renovations that meant scaffolding in our drive and other inconveniences.  But it's all done now and they had a big party to show it off last weekend.  I couldn't go as I was at the ballet (Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake - chuffing awesome BTW).  They were kind enough to give the wee man a Christmas pressie as a way of thanking us for helping them out so I thought I'd make some big place mats as a well done for getting through the last 6 months.....

they're pretty big... 18" x 12" ish

front and back
I used some IKEA home dec fabric for the back and some some linen IKEA for the front, along with some Flora and Fauna and Kona Teal I've had for donkeys years.  They have been gifted, I don't know if they like them or not #heyho.  I only recently realised that they have been calling me Marianne for the past 7 years - I thought I was just not listening right!  They know my actual name now ;)

Decks are being cleared for another bee block marathon but probably not before a wee man free weekend in Edinburgh this weekend #woopwoop......

Linking with Sue and Brit Sewing Thursday Linky

Just Sew Sue

Saturday, 8 March 2014


Finally, the lurgy is getting bored with me, I think!   What it has taught me is that I can't sew when I'm poorly - mistakes happen more often than normally.  I am also regretting not taking my pelvic floor exercises during my pregnancy pilates classes more seriously #TMI.

Anyway, this morning I feel able to sew and add up so have started my swap pouch.  The East Midlands Modern Quilty ladies are having a swap with the Saskatoon MQG.  I wanted to try out a bit of fabric manipulation and this is what I've got so far:

 Not the best photo, obvs.  But here's a wee tutorial on how to create this effect.

I wanted to have 3 pleats and for each pleat to be 1 inch wide so cut the following

3 x 1.5" essex linen
2 x 1.25" liberty fabric (you could make these a bit wider if you want)
2 x 2.5" liberty fabric

Sew these together so you end up with....

I added the rest of the pouch fabric on either side

Then using the seam on the first pleat as a guide, mark a line 0.5" to the right of the seam

I used a frixion pen - I hope you can see the lines
Fold the pleat in half, lining up the seams, pin and sew....

Repeat for each of the pleats and you should end up with this....

Then find some nice thread (perle or similar) and start to smock by pulling either side of the pleat together and sewing a few stitches over and over.  I used red thread and started the stitch about 1/8" from the seams on the pleat...

You could add buttons at this stage if you want.  You could make the smocking uneven.  Lots of options.  I am still trying to decide whether to so the same for the other side or not.

Anyway, I hope you are all having a good weekend. I'm off do do some ...ahem... exercises... and clench!

Sunday, 23 February 2014


I tempted fate this week.  My new boss asked me how everything was going and I said that no-one was sick so it was all good.  Next day, the boys both started hacking and sneezing and then passed it on to me.  I did manage some sewing before it fully kicked in...

First up, Sue's Bumbling Honeys block.  I'm pretty chuffed with most of the points on this one

Unfortunately, my pride came before a fall.  I sent everything back to Sue with a note saying that I didn't need to use her flying geese templates cos I rock and made them for this block a different way.  Block done before the end of the month...what's not to be chuffed about.  Except in the depths of a flu sweat last night I realised I was meant to make the flying geese AS WELL as this block.  I'm such a dope.  Sorry Sue (she has been really kind about my dopiness).

Anyway, next up were a couple of angel blocks for Betty in the QATWII swap.  Nightmare scenario - all of her blocks made it around the world but got lost on the final leg back to her.  So, this first one was also a nightmare due to my maths fail (which is shaming because I manage a maths education project).  I walked away from it for the night and came back next day, added a border and it was finally a 12.5" block.

rubbish night time photos
This next one was started and finished during the first episode of the new series of the Great British Sewing Bee.  I erred on the side of caution and used a block pattern from the Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop book..

It worked and I  like it!

One of my friends is 39 weeks pregnant and clearly needed a divided basket for all the nappy gubbins so I knocked this up on Wednesday whilst Laughing Boy was getting depressed and sicker at the football....

 I ran out of fabric for the divider bit but fortunately had it in another colourway and it worked out really well.  I'm not good at baby baby things so wanted to make something that could be used post baby needs, hence the more sober exterior.  She loved it, thankfully.  And another friend has just announced that baby #2 is on the way so I see another of these on the cards.

It was certainly easier than the first one, which was made at an EMMQG sewing day at Bradmore last September, which brings me nicely to yesterday.... another fabulous EMMQG sewing day at Bradmore! Lovely ladies, lovely cake, lovely soup, lovely biscuits, lovely chat. I forgot to take many photos but there were some lovely quilts on show.  Ange (and bump) turned up to try out Kerry's new machine...

I was working on Catherine's Komebukuro bag, which I promised to pattern test for her ages ago (sorry I'm so late to this one, C).  She arranged for Ali at veryberryhandmade to send me a gorgeous pack of liberty lawn scraps....

I got one full side and one 3/4 side done...

I am a slow sewista but my cold also slowed me down.  By 8pm last night, I was in bed with three duvets and a quilt and blocks of ice for feet.  I think the worst has past but what I wouldn't give for a germ-free month...come on March, help us out!

Any advice on avoiding the lurgy would be most welcome!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

got any grapes?

Thank you to the lovely Catherine for asking me to host this month's Slow Blogger linky party. It has been just the kick up the hoogie push I needed to get some sewing done and write about it :)

So January was a bit of a wipe out, sewing wise. I am  ready to get back on the horse, so to speak. Although I complain about them a lot, bee blocks have been a great way back into the land of sewing.  I'm late delivering Liz's Bumbling Honeys blocks but they are now done.  The first one took me nearly 3 hours to do as I seemed to have completely forgotten everything - the mind was blank, the sewing machine was a stranger.....

note to self: take a photo before you starch and fold the blocks for sending
I was literally like a complete beginner and there is one wonky seam that screams "loser" at me.  But in the spirit of Being Gentle, I just shrug and say "whatevs" back at it.

The second block whizzed up in no time...

I think Liz is going to have a fab quilt.

On Wednesday I had a lovely evening with Tanya, Hannah and Lizzy learning how to sew shirring.  No photos but I love it.  I might just shirr everything from now on!

Today, Laughing Boy is taking the wee man on many errands so I am able to have a day sewing #myvalentine.  I have a date with some hair dye and a bee block for Sue as well as a plan

So lovelies, what have you been up to this past month?

PS.  This is what kept the wee man entertained when he was poorly a couple of weeks ago.  It made me laugh.....

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


There has been absolutely no sewing taking place around these parts for weeks now. Nothing. Nada. Rien. Zilch. Sweet FA. My cutting table has been appropriated to store hundreds of assignments I need to mark and I am riddled with the lurgiest lurgy that has left me firmly on the couch with ice blocks for feet. This may have been a direct result from being on the wagon! More likely I caught the pesky bug from my brother in law when I made a flying visit home to attend my dad's 70th bday party. One thing that is certain though is that I can't party as hard as those OAPs!

On the way to bed last Thursday, coming down from a bit of a Lemsip frenzy, I pressed BUY on something rash that was not fabric related for once. I haven't been able to get much sleep since, worrying about whether I have done the right thing getting this beauty....

Too late - it arrived yesterday.  Boysenberry in colour, it matches my Dr Marten patent purple flats I bought last year. I haven't used it yet.  I'm a little frightened.  Maybe today....

It came with a free cast iron frying pan...

it's quite heavy
Now all I need is a pattern to make a cover for it.  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


I'm sat sitting here feeling sorry for myself after a challenging day with the wee man.  At least today he didn't try to slide down the stairs on his knees (that didn't end well!).  To paraphrase Lloyd Bridges, I picked the wrong month to give up wine! [one for the kids there]  Of course, I've just read some blog posts that put my tough day into perspective. Life changing challenges, you know.

Some others have been blogging about a word that will frame their year.  So after a browse and a think, I realised that I am greedy and one word wouldn't cut it.  Something I saw on Pinterest last week has been circling around my head ever since and so this year my challenge is to try to do this....


So this year I will mostly be trying to do this in my crafty life and in general.  So the truth - I'm off the booze for at least the month and am doing the 30 day plank challenge #fearless?

I'm more downward dog than plank!
I've been sewing again, which helps and even though it's all about the bee blocks (still), I am catching up and making some nice stuff.

For lovely Kathie, a new Bumbling Honey...

only one lost corner!
Her blocks will be used to make a quilt for her son's teacher and I think it will be really pretty.

Then two lots of Friends With Additions blocks.  Now, we're only meant to give sneak peaks at the moment so I've been pixelating!  First up the blocks I made for JoJo....

pretty neat huh?
I'm a little concerned that the actual blocks don't look as good as their pixelated version!

And for Jen...

With this one,the pixelation doesn't really hide what it is!  #ochwell.

Off now to do Liz's log cabins and maybe a calming herbal tea #gentle