• My happy new quilt

    Thursday, 23 April, 2015

    This last week has been so lovely - but I haven't been tempted away from my sewing!
    I've finished the quilt top that I showed you last week - it's only small but I do like it -
    The finished size is 42 1/2" square - so makes a cute little lap quilt or even a picnic blanket.
    The blocks are made using - and the 3"finished square - 
    The fabrics and amounts you need are as follows -
    Centre squares - 3 pieces 12" x 4" - more if you are going to cut motifs for each square
    Star points - 3 pieces 36" x 4 1/2" 
    As I mentioned before I used the lovely fabric from the Fenton House collection by Guetermann for the stars.
    White - 27" x 42" for the triangles and squares.
    For the inner borders - dusky purple - 27" x 42" - cut into 2" strips and then cut 18 x 9 1/2" and 18 x 12 1/2"
    For the sashing, outer border, and binding - 27" x 42" - cut into 2" strips.
    - For the sashing cut 6 x 12 1/2", 2 x 39 1/2".
    - For the outer border cut 2 x 39 1/2" and 2 x 42 1/2" ( now my fabric wasn't quite wide enough so I had to join an extra piece onto each end )
    - the remaining strips are for the binding.
    Backing and wadding - 45" square of each

    Make the 9 blocks - you can see the layout for each block in my blog on 9th April.
    Add the borders to each block.
    Then join the blocks with the sashing, and then add the border.
    Now this is as far as I've got this week - but all that is needed is to layer up the backing, wadding and top. Quilt by hand or machine - I'm not sure yet how I'm going to quilt - but hope to be able to show you what I've done by next week.
    Binding uses the remaining strips, and voila! one small quilt completed
    And now for something completely different - but with the same die -
    If you join the triangles together in rows of 3, as pictured above, you can make easy hexagons!!
    Or using 2 fabrics and staggering the rows you can make a zig zag design -
    and that's just a starters - I like the idea of using one die for lots of different effects and projects - so next week I might still be on this die - you'll have to wait and see.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend and make something fun.

  • New quilt started

    Thursday, 16 April, 2015

    I hope you've all been enjoying our lovely spring weather.
    I am pleased to report that the baby quilts are not only finished but have been sent and received by at least one of the families - the one to America will obviously take a little longer!
    I've also managed to find the quilt I had started for my granddaughter, Abi, it has eluded me for several weeks, and that is now well on the way to completion - so have been feeling quite pleased with myself.
    The fabrics I showed you last week are coming together nicely -
    I really like this die - - because it makes these stars easy to make.
    I partnered it with the 3"finished square -  and this makes a 9" finished block.
    My dilemma now is that I'm not sure how to complete this - I think a trip to my local patchwork store is called for - I think maybe a plain fabric sashing, or maybe a few more blocks with plain fabrics - I'll have to let you know next week.
    I'm also hoping to create a few more blocks using this die so that you can see how versatile it is, or there maybe another new die featured I'm not sure yet.
    In the meantime have a lovely week, and keep sewing.

  • New fabrics and a new die!

    Thursday, 9 April, 2015

    I you all enjoyed the Easter weekend.
    It was lovely to have a long weekend and to have time to relax and enjoy the sunshine. We also started to decorate our dining room - it's almost finished - but unfortunately the baby quilts still  need to be quilted - maybe this weekend!!
    Recently I was given some lovely fabrics from the Fenton House collection by Guetermann, and have been thinking about what to use them for - and now I have a new die to use - so it may be a marriage made in heaven.
    I am so excited about using these lovely fabrics.
    I'm using the 3" finished square Bigz die - 657608, and die 660183 - 3" finished Isosceles triangle ( and half triangle), also a Bigz die
    When these shapes are stitched together they will make a star, but as I'm running very late this week I can only show the pieces laid out -
     to give you the idea of what this will look like.
    I'm not sure at the moment how big this will be - or quite how I'm going to join the blocks together when they're made - but that's part of the fun.
    So that's all for now - I'll be hard at work this weekend - creating this quilt and also finishing the baby quilts - update next week.
    Have a great weekend.

  • A happy trio of baby quilts

    Thursday, 2 April, 2015

    Hello again, and Happy Easter to you.
    As you can see, from the photo below, I have made progress on the baby quilts - and I think I might be able to finish them this weekend.
    I think you'll agree they look quite different, but all have the rectangle in common, it was a happy decision to make the task easier, which worked for me!
    This quilt is a rail fence, using 2 rectangles for each block.
    I laid the whole quilt out and then made the blocks for each row, joined the rows and there we have a cot quilt top.
    This quilt uses the square with the rectangle to make a rainbow of blocks that I joined together in sequence.
     This is actually the quilt I made first - using the white strip to alternately with the bright spots.
    Now they just need to be quilted and bound - but I think I might manage that this weekend.
    So not quite HRH but certainly a bright beginning!
    Next week I think I will be showcasing a 'new' die - it's not been in our catalogue for very long and this will be my first time using it - so watch this space!
    Enjoy this very special weekend.

  • Spring flowers

    Thursday, 26 March, 2015

    What a lovely morning - bright sunshine and lots of primroses in bloom - I think Spring is definitely here - even though it's still a bit cold outside.
    Last week I met a whole lot of you at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC in Birmingham, where we made coasters using the lovely flower die -

     these made an easy and relaxing workshop project - we cut the flower using the flower die and the coaster circles using -
    and we used the lovely new Big Shot Plus machine -
    We stitched the flower centre to the flower first, and then stitched the flower to one of the circles.
    To complete the coaster we stitched the 2 circles together.
    Now some of you will have noticed that this is the same flower die that I used last week to make cushion covers because I want to show that you can use one die for lots of different things.
    During one of the workshops one lady suggested that the coaster could become a needle case - so here's one I made earlier -

    I used a thicker felt for the front and back of the needle case, and a thin felt for the centre
    leaves, and the front flower. Instead of stitching all round the circles I just stitched a straight line on one side.
    Later the same day another lady suggested that a child's bag could be made by leaving an opening at the top, and attaching a ribbon -

    Again I used a thicker felt for the circles to give some strength to the bag - this would make a cute little Easter gift - filled with little chocolate eggs, or some beads to make some jewellery.
    So now I'm back home, and haven't got any shows booked for the next few weeks so I can concentrate on those little baby quilts!!

  • Flower trilogy

    Thursday, 19 March, 2015

    It certainly feels like spring is here - I have a scattering of snowdrops in my front garden, some delightful miniature daffodils in the back garden and the mornings and evenings are getting lighter.
    So as I've been busy preparing for the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC, this weekend, a project with flowers seemed to be the obvious choice, and I have to admit that this project keeps growing!
    It started with coasters, which we will be making in workshops at the show, and then I thought it would be nice to show another project using the same die - and that has now turned into 3 cushions embellished with the same flower but each slightly different...... and then I thought about napkin rings, table runners, bag embellishments I've stopped. There are 3 cushions, and the idea now that you could make lots of different things just using one die - the only limit is your imagination or time!
    We have lots of different flower dies but for these projects I have chosen this slightly irregular flower
    and I used it with the lovely new Big Shot Plus ( not because I needed to but because I just love this new size machine!!)
    This is the first cushion - with the flowers scattered randomly - some with leaves but most without.
    I chose to stitch around the flower petals and centres on this, and the leaves I just stitched down the centre -
    On my second cushion I decided to arrange the flowers more formally into a wreath -
     and I just stitched the flower centres in place so that there is a slight 3D effect -
    which made me think that it would be nice to create more of a 3D effect so that led to this cushion -
    Each flower uses 5 cut flowers. Fold 4 of the flowers into quarters and stitch to keep in place -
    and then stitch the 4 flowers together onto a base flower -
    and then add a centre -

    or -
    Make as many as you like (I made 3) and then stitch them onto a cushion cover -

    So this trilogy of flower cushions make me smile, and think about eating out on the patio - which made me think about a table runner with flowers scattered along it. The 3D flowers would make a nice embellishment for napkin rings, and you could add a name tag to each one for easy setting planning.
    If you cut the flowers out of voile you could scatter them on tables for parties or weddings.
    They could also be used to decorate a plain bag for a special occasion.
    Think I'm getting carried away here - so perhaps I should stop here and get some more work done on those overdue baby quilts.
    Whatever your weekend holds I hope you'll find some time to sew, or perhaps come and see me at the NEC in the Sewing for Pleasure show.

  • Thank you Glasgow

    Thursday, 12 March, 2015

    That may sound like a strange title - but I have just been to the Stitching, Sewing and Quilting Show at the SECC in Glasgow, where I taught a workshop using the new Big Shot Plus machine to cut hexagons to make a patchwork coaster. It was my first visit to Glasgow and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting lots of patchwork and sewing enthusiasts, and we had a lot of fun and laughter - so thank you for making me feel so welcome!
    One of my first workshop attendees was Debbie Price - who wasn't very confident about her stitching skills and wasn't sure that she could or would complete the coaster. I suggested that I would give her a small prize if she completed it before the end of the show - and to my great surprise she came the very next morning to show me her completed coaster -
    I was suitably impressed -she had stitched it very well.
    I do love going out to the shows and running workshops or doing demonstrations with the Big Shot and the Bigz dies - because I love to see the response when someone sees it working for the first time.
    There were some lovely quilts on display and in the competitions ( I haven't included photos because I haven't asked permission)
    So this week I thought I'd put the instructions for my coaster on the blog - and it is easy enough that you still have time to complete it as a small gift for mother's day!! and you can see how it looks completed in the photo of Debbie!


    I used the new Big Shot Plus machine
    and a 1" sided hexagon and a 1 1/4" sided hexagon

    Sizzix® Bigz™ Die Hexagons #2 1” side  and 

    Sizzix® Bigz™ Die Hexagons 1 ¼” side 659834

    25cm x 13cm each of 2 contrasting or co-ordinating fabrics

    Paper to use as hexagon templates

    Wadding 25cm x 13cm for hexagon templates

    Thread for piecing


    1.    Using the Big Shot machine and die 659835 cut 7 hexagons in paper, and 7 in wadding

    2.    Using the machine and die 659834 cut 7 hexagons from  each fabric

    3.    Pin one fabric hexagon to one paper, fold the fabric edges over the paper and tack the fabric corners together ( don’t stitch through the paper)

    4.    Repeat with the remaining 6 papers.

    5.    Repeat step  with the wadding and the remaining fabric hexagons

    6.    Stitch 6 hexagons around a contrast central hexagon.

    7.    Repeat with the remaining 7 hexagons.

    8.    Press well

    9.    Remove the paper from all the hexagons.

    10.                       Pin the 2 hexagon ‘flowers’ together and slip stitch the folded edges together to complete the coaster

  • Flower cushion for Mother

    Thursday, 5 March, 2015

    Last year my daughters bought me a beautiful cushion for Mothers Day - I loved it then and still love it now - and the grandchildren aren't allowed near it!!
    So this year I thought I'd make one as a gift for my mother in law  -

    I've used 1/2m natural coloured linen for the cushion cover -
    for the cushion front cut 1 x 17" square, for the cushion backs cut 2 x 13 1/2" x 17"
    For the flowers I used small pieces of blue, green, yellow and coral plain cottons to which I fused web - (like Heat'n'Bond, Steam a Seam, Bondaweb) to the wrong side before I cut the shapes.
    I used Bigz Die 657117, , to cut 6 petal in green and 6 in blue, and 1 centre in green and 1 in yellow
    and Bigz Die 657114, , to cut the flowers, 1large and 1 small in yellow and coral.
    Arrange the flowers quite high on the cushion front, so that there is room for the stitched stems and leaves, and I appliqued the flowers using a straight machine stitch, but you could use a zig zag stitch or hand stitch with back stitch or blanket stitch. For my stems and leaves I used a triple stitch on my sewing machine, but you could use stem stitch, back stitch or chain stitch, if you choose to stitch by hand.

    The back of the cushion cover is made in 2 pieces, each with a 2" double fold along one long edge. Stitch buttonholes along the middle of one double fold, and then stitch the buttons on the other double fold - to match the buttonholes.
    Do the buttons up and then lay the cushion front and back right sides together. Pin around all 4 sides and then stitch, with a 1/2" seam. I neatened the raw edges with a zig zag machine stitch.
    Undo the buttons and then turn the cushion cover the right way out .
    I think this is lovely for a gift for Mothers Day - I might even make one for myself!
    Now progress on the baby quilts hit a stop sign at the weekend because I wasn't well - but I'm taking them to Glasgow with me - hoping that I can sew in my hotel room, in the evenings, after the show each day! Well let's wait until next week to see if that happened.
    Enjoy the early spring sunshine and keep sewing!

  • 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

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