• Rainbow Baby quilt

    Thursday, 26 February, 2015

    Have I mentioned that my nephews and niece are all expecting babies at about the same time!!
    Well the babies have all be born - in the space of 11 days - so now I have to get sewing pretty quickly.
    I had thought that I would design completely different quilts for each one - but reality and time pressure has won the day - I am going to make them all from the same fabrics but make each slightly different - my fabrics are these -
    I bought these lovely spotted fabrics a little while ago and hadn't decided what to do with them - so I've started by cutting a lot of rectangles using the new Big Shot Plus and Bigz die 659837 - 2" x 4" finished.
    To begin I cut 6 rectangles from each of the 17 fabrics.  I think it will be lovely to include all of the colours for the boys and the girl - no sex discrimination here!
    to cut white strips to form sashing.
    Now at the moment I don't know how many of anything I'm going to use for each quilt - I know that's not helpful but this is as far as I've got with the first quilt -

    All I can say is that you'll have to look at my blog again next week for more details - I plan to have this quilt made (maybe not quilted though), I'm after all the babies don't know I running late with their presents!!!
    Also next week I'll have a gift to make for Mother's Day.
    So now I'm off to have a cup of tea and some lunch before continuing the quilt.
    Last reminder that I'll be running workshops in Glasgow, Sewing Knitting and Quilting Show at the SECC. I hope to see some of you there.


  • Starry coasters

    Thursday, 19 February, 2015

    I've had a very busy weekend at the Stitches trade show at the NEC in Birmingham - I love these shows where I have the chance to meet customers old and new - and I still love demonstrating the Big Shot machines and the dies. I also had the privilege to teach a workshop each day - and the photo below showcases what we made and two lovely ladies who played with the layout of the stars so that we used all three instead of two ( sorry girls I didn't get your names so can't mention you personally).
    The project was initially to make a pin cushion but it could just as easily be a pin cushion!
     We used the new Big Shot Plus - check it out on our website - it has a 9" wide aperture - so will be able to accommodate larger dies, and I love the new colour which is available in all 3 machine sizes, and is available from next month.
    The dies we used were Bigz 5" circle - ,to cut 2 circles, and the new Nested Star - which we used to cut contrasting stars. We used a running stitch to fix the stars to one circle and then stitched the 2 circles together - a lovely quick and easy project. To make it into a pin cushion simply leave an opening, stuff and then complete stitching the circle.
    and here is the alternative next to the original -

    If you stitched these by machine then they could even be made as wedding favours ( as long as you're not having hundreds of people to the wedding!!!!)
    Now I'm going to show you some photos of our stand at Stitches - and with it you'll get a glimpse of new dies that will become available over the next few months, and which will feature in some of my future blogs - hope you like them -

    I loved our room setting - which gave an idea of lots of different ways to use our dies to create lots of lovely projects for the home.
    So that's all for now.
    I'll be at the Stitching Sewing and Quilting Show in Glasgow at the beginning of March - so I hope to see some of you there, and then later in March I will be at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC in Birmingham. A busy month ahead, but I hope to meet lots of you there.
     Stitching Sewing & Quilting Show

  • Dinner for 2

    Thursday, 12 February, 2015

    As promised last week - here is a quick make for Valentine's day - yes you can still make something!
    2 coasters and matching serviettes - really are a quick make - especially if you do what I did - and buy ready made serviettes and use one to make the coasters.
    I used my trusty Big Shot machine , and Bigz Die -   - I cut 4 x 5" circles from a serviette and 2 x 5" circles of wadding.
    I stitched 2 pieces of fabric and 1 piece of wadding ( on top ) together and clipped the seam and trimmed the wadding -

    I then cut a small opening through a one layer of fabric,
    to be able to turn the coaster right side out -
    to create a smooth edge I ran a crochet hook around the seam on the inside, and then pressed flat.
    Using die , - I cut 2 sets of 3 hearts from white textured fabric, which I had already applied fusible web to.
    I fused the 2 small hearts onto the coasters - making sure that I covered the opening with the heart, and then I stitched the hearts in place.

    For the serviettes I fused a large and a medium heart in the corner of each serviette and then machine stitched them in place to match the coasters.
    Now how easy was that?
    Not really into Valentine's day -well this could be a pretty little gift for an engagement or even a  wedding present.
    I'm not going to be at home for Valentine's day - I'll be at the NEC getting ready for the trade show - Stitches, which starts on Sunday 15th. Maybe I'll see you there, and if not I may have some photos of new fabrics for later in the year, who knows?
    What will I be sewing next? probably some baby quilts - with 3 great nephews due in the next few weeks and another grandchild in May - it looks like I'm going to be busy with quilts as gifts - but at least they're small.
    Also as promised last week  - I couldn't decide how to quilt it and after a couple of false starts I decided to just stitch in the corners of the squares and rectangles so that it's almost invisible. Then to stitch around the unfinished edges so that the wool will fray out a little for a lovely soft edge.

    I'm so pleased to have completed this ( and before the cold weather has completely gone ), and I guess I should call it a throw as it is only 2 layers and a quilt always has . I shall be nice and snug under it what ever I call it anyway!!!

    Hope you like it.

  • Sitting comfortably

    Thursday, 5 February, 2015

    The mornings and evenings are getting lighter and the snowdrops are out in my garden – it must nearly be spring!!

    Before I get carried away with the idea of spring and then summer, I will concentrate on Valentines treats – this cushion is so easy to make – and could be given as a gift to mark a birthday, anniversary or a special friendship.

    I have just treated myself to this Alphabet set – which I know I am going to use a lot, but you could just buy a few at a time ( or put it on a wish list for you nearest and dearest to see!!)

    Obviously this week I just used 4 letters –

    To make the cushion you will need –

    ½ - 1 metre of fabric (depending on width) from which you cut
    1 x 18 ½” square
    2 x 14 ¼” x 18 ½”
    Red fabric – 20” x 6”
    Fusible Web 20” x 6”
    3 buttons
    Matching threads
    18” cushion pad

    To make –
    To make the cushion back –

    Fuse the web onto the wrong side of the red fabric and cut into 4 equal pieces 5” x 6”

    Cut each letter once using the Big Shot and each die – place the fabric right side down on the die to cut.

    Arrange the letters on the cushion front, and fuse in place -

    Stitch in place, by hand or machine – I hand stitched using a buttonhole stitch with matching red thread.

    Press a double 2” fold along the longer side of each piece 

    10 ¼” x 18 ½” – press and then stitch buttonholes on one piece and stitch 3 buttons on the other.

    Do the buttons up and lay the cushion front on top so that the right sides are together – pin and stitch around the 4 sides (I double stitched over the folded layers to give strength)

    Undo the buttons and turn the cushion right side out

    I have enjoyed making this cushion so much I am going to make some more with different words on – watch this space!

    Now I’m aware that I promised a picture of the wool quilt this week – well it’s not quite finished yet so please be patient and I hope to have it completed by next week – along with a very quick make for Valentine’s dinner.

  • Snug as a bug!

    Thursday, 29 January, 2015

    That's what I'll be when this little lap quilt is complete -
    I decided to try to use up all of the wool fabric that I had - so this really is a scrap quilt - which is already becoming a favourite before it's quite finished - maybe partly because the weather forecast is for much colder weather and I will be able to curl up under this beauty!
    To get the most out of the pieces of wool I had I decided to cut more squares and rectangles in different sizes - I have already cut out rectangles using Bigz die 658113 - 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" unfinished
    and squares using Bigz Die 659838 - 4 1/2" unfinished square -
    using the Big Shot machine, and then
    I also cut out some 3 1/2" unfinished squares with die 
    and some 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" unfinished rectangles -
    My plan was to create 12" finished blocks - so I could make some using all of the 4"/8" shapes and some using the 3"/6" shapes --
    The photo below shows the lay out for the 4"/8" pieces
     and this photo shows the layout for the 3"/6" pieces. ( the photo is a cheat because the proper one came out a very strange colour so I laid out another block but didn't have enough rectangles!!!)
    I had enough pieces to make a total of 16 blocks which I decided to lay the pieces out randomly, but took care to make sure that the colours and patterns were mixed in each row.
    I joined the blocks into 4 rows of 4 and then joined the rows - so I have a lap quilt measuring 48 1/2" square.
    Just a note that I still only used a 1/4" seam and I pressed the seams flat open on the wrong side to try to reduce bulk at the seams.
    I like it so much I'm going to add another photo -
    I'm going to back the quilt with either a plain wool or fleece - I'll show you a photo of it finished next week.
    And just as I was going to finish this blog - one of my friends, Alex, suggested that there were enough pieces left to make a cushion so I trimmed the remaining pieces to 3 1/2" squares and laid them out like this -
     which when stitched together became a cushion front -
    which then just left this -
    I'm very pleased to have used so much of these beautiful fabrics and will show you the finished quilt and cushion next week - along with a lovely valentine project.
    Keep warm this week - I'm hoping for snow to go and play in with the grandchildren - we can hope.


  • Welsh warmers

    Thursday, 22 January, 2015

    With the cold weather continuing I have decided to use up my stash of beautiful welsh wool fabrics to make a lap quilt - but before I show you that - here is my little bag, from last week, finished with a lovely pair of handles -
     I was so pleased to find these handles locally - and they were so simple to hand stitch in place as the holes were pre-punched in the leather heart.
    I think I will make some more of these bags - experimenting with different size squares to change the size of the bag.
    So now for the lap quilt - it's only cut at the moment - and I'm not sure how big it will be, or if I'll be able to use all of the different colours together -
    I have cut out rectangles using Bigz die 658113 - 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" unfinished
    and squares using Bigz Die 659838 - 4 1/2" unfinished square -
    This should be a very quick quilt to make - and I'm going to use a fleece fabric for the backing - so next week I hope to have a quilt to show you.
    Keep warm - and keep sewing.

  • Little Welsh Bag

    Thursday, 15 January, 2015

    What a cold week! - I hope you're all wrapped up warm and cosy. Last year I went on holiday to Norway - and it was very cold - but the Norwegians have a saying - there is no such thing as bad weather - just the wrong clothing - so with that in mind I've found some of my beautiful welsh wool fabrics.
    Now I know a bag won't keep you warm - but it made me feel warm making it ( and I still have quite a bit left so it may become a winter lap quilt!)
    I know it doesn't have any handles at the moment - but I'm trying to find some that I really like.
    Now this bag is so easy it only takes a couple of hours to make - and can easily be made in different sizes - just by changing the size of the squares used.
    For this bag I used the 4" finished square along with the Big Shot Machine and I cut 17 squares in a mixture of colours -
    I laid them out in 5 rows ready for stitching together -
    I pressed the seams flat open to reduce bulk, and then joined the rows together.
    As the wool fabric can stretch a bit I decided to use an interfacing for strength ( you could use a wadding but that will add bulk to the bag) so I used the stitched shape as a template to cut the interfacing, and then cut the lining as well.
    Pin the interfacing to the wrong side of the bag, and quilt to keep the layers together ( I stitched in the ditch) and then join the 'v's together -
     pin the first 'v' matching points A together, and then stitch from A to B, and then match point AC to C and stitch to D
    Here's a photo so show you how that should look -
    Repeat with the other side of the bag, and then repeat with the bag lining.
    Next join the side seams - but only half way ( which is where there is a seam to make it easy)
    Repeat with the lining.
    Turn the bag right side out, and put inside the lining ( which is wrong side out). Pin the edges together and stitch, leaving an opening to turn the bag right side out. Stitch carefully and then snip the seams at the 'v' at the middle front and back of the bag.
    Turn the bag right side out and then slip stitch the open edges together.
    Now all that remains is to attach straps - you can make straps from matching fabric, or you can buy ready made straps - which is the way I have decided to finish my bag - but I haven't found what I want yet - but hope to have them ready to show you next week.
    By the way I found my welsh wool fabric because I tidied my sewing room - it's not quite ready to show off  - but almost everything now has a place and I can walk right across the room, and use my empty table for sewing!!! - now that is a win for me.
    As ever it's time for a cup of tea, and then I might just see if I have enough wool left to make a little lap quilt.
    Bye for now.

  • Very quick flower quilt

    Thursday, 8 January, 2015

    I know this will look like a cheat - it's quick because it is only 50cm square - it's a quilt for my grand daughter Abi, it's her 4th birthday next week and I've bought her a dolls bed - so I had to make a little quilt -
    As you can guess she likes pink and purple.
     As I mentioned last week I really like this die - so it was an easy choice. the fabrics are all from my stash/scraps - I fused adhesive web to the back of the fabrics and cut 2 sets of flower, centre and leaves from each fabric.
    I cut 2 pieces of white fabric and 1 piece of wadding - 52cms square - and stitched them all together - leaving a portion of one side open - so that the quilt could be turned right side out. I slip stitched the open edges together.
    I then randomly arranged the flowers, centres and leaves, and fused them in place.
    All that remained was to machine stitch the flowers, centres and leaves in place using a straight stitch.
    All that remains is to make a little pillow - and it's complete.
    So how have I got on with sorting the sewing room? Well it's not completely sorted - but I can see a lot of the carpet now, and the piles of things to be sorted are diminishing - so I hope it will be one last push this weekend.
    One problem that has emerged from all this sorting and tidying is that I have found quite a few unfinished projects, and lots more that haven't yet been started yet - so I need to exercise some discipline and get these stitched before starting lots of lovely new things! I'll keep you updated with progress.

  • New Year New Dies

    Thursday, 1 January, 2015

    Happy New Year to you all, and yes I really am writing this on New Year's Day!
    I've decided this year that I'm going to make just one resolution - I'm not going to the gym or starting a diet - I may do these later in the year - but not while outside is cold, and lovely stews and deserts with custard are so much more appealing than a salad!!! - so this year I am going to delay these things until the weather is warmer.
    So what am I changing this year? - I'm going to make a real effort to keep my sewing room tidy - now that may not seem much of a challenge - but then I've never let you have a glimpse of it have I now. I am still in the process of tidying and sorting - but with the purchase of one more shelf I'm quite confident that the muddle will be a thing of the past. The significance of this will be that I will be able to put my hand on any die that I want to use, and be able to sort quickly through my fabric to find just the right one for a project - instead of spending ages trying to sort through the chaos - I may even be able to show you my sewing room soon!!!
    But for today I want to show you  new dies - well they came out in the Autumn - all are designed by Stephanie Barnard and I can't wait to start decorating things with them -

    I love the slightly quirky flowers and the irregularity of the hearts and with Valentines day only about 6 weeks away, and then Mother's Day and Easter I am sure these dies are going to become firm favourites. I know I will be featuring them in future blogs - so watch to see what I create with them.
    That's all for this week - now back to the sorting and tidying.


    Thursday, 25 December, 2014

    I hope so far you have enjoyed the day - and like me managed to make and prepare everything that needed to be done, and that you have had some time to relax and enjoy the meaning of the day.
    It's just about time to put the kettle on and enjoy a nice cup of tea - and here I am showing off some of my makes from the previous weeks ( sorry I couldn't resist making a matching tea cosy ) -
     also in case you notice how light the photo is - I took the photo early - knowing that today day would be a little too busy to stop and take a photo.
    That's all for today - and the next blog will be on New Years' day - 2014 has passed so quickly - and we don't know yet what 2015 will hold for us - but I do know we have some lovely new bigz dies coming out and I hope to be able to share more ideas and projects with you over the coming months.

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