• Blog hop - Advent cones

    Thursday, 20 November, 2014

    It’s that time of year for the blog hop – and as I prepare my contribution I start feeling excited about what our other bloggers will make – I can’t wait to see.

    Here's our Blog Hop line-up:
    Monday 18th November: Jo Carter 
    Tuesday 19th November: Katy Jones
    Wednesday 19th November: Jessie Fincham
    Thursday 20th November: Angela Southey
    Friday 21st Trudi Wood 
    Saturday 22nd November: Mercedes Jiménez Campuzano

    ... And to celebrate this festive Blog Hop, we have a giveaway with a selection of fantastic dies and the Big Shot™ Machine up for grabs! Click here to enter 
    So here’s my contribution – I’ve been thinking for a long time about making an Advent Calendar – but wanted to make something slightly different – this year I had this idea – hope you like it – I know my grandchildren will!
    So here they are! 

    Advent Cones
    You will need about 75 cm of fabric for the circles and about 1.25m of fusible interfacing.
    For the numbers you will need about 15cm of contrasting fabric.
    You will need 10m of ribbon cut into 20cm lengths ( you will need 48, two for each cone).
    I used the Big Shot Pro and die to cut 24 circles in Christmas fabrics and 24 in fusible interfacing. I fused the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric circles.
    I used Tim Holtz Word Play die to cut all the numbers 1 -24 , for the numbers I fused some fusible web to the wrong side of some Michael Miller Fairy Frost fabric and then cut out the following quantity of each number ( remember to lay the fabric RS down to cut out ),  -2 x 0, 13 x 1, 8 x 2, 3 x 3, 3 x4, and 2 each of numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
    Fold,  the circles in half to create semi-circles, press the fold and then fuse the numbers in place - 

     (as these are only used for a short time I haven't stitched the numbers in place but you can if you want to)
    Pin 2 lengths of ribbon to each semi- circle  - and zig-zag stitch around the edge, and across the ribbons.
    Overlap the straight edge of the semi circle, by about 4cms/ 1 1/2", to create a cone, pin and straight stitch in place photo 4

    Your advent cones are now ready to fill and enjoy, and they are large enough to put more than one chocolate in!!! I have made the ribbons to be tied for hanging so that you can hang them anywhere you like - so if you don't put your Christmas tree up until part way through Christmas you could hang the cones around the house - in a sort of treasure hunt. Have fun.


  • Quick Scandi Christmas block

    Thursday, 13 November, 2014

    How are you - I hope you're enjoying the build up to Christmas and that you have a lot more fun and enjoyment than stress.
    Last year I thought it would be nice to start a family tradition - a quilt for Christmas eve - when the grandchildren can snuggle up under the quilt, in their Christmas pyjamas, and  enjoy watching a film together.
    So we are only 6 weeks away from Christmas and I'm just starting the blocks for the quilt! Well that is progress, and even though I might not get it finished for this Christmas, I am moving in the right direction.
    So I have chosen these lovely Scandi style fabrics, and plan to keep the design quite simple -
     I just love these colours and designs.
    I have used the following dies for my star block -
     1 square in red with white stars.
    With the Big Shot and die 657520 , and red with cream heart outlines, I cut
     8 half-square triangles.
     4 x 4 1/2" squares.
    To begin I stitched 2 half square triangles to each side of the quarter square triangle -
    and then I stitched these to opposite sides of the 8 1/2" square -
    and then I joined the 41/2" squares to each end of two of  the pieced triangles -
     To complete the block these were stitched to  opposite sides of the centre square -
    So that is my quick make for Christmas - it is a 16" finished block - so it could be a cushion or a table centre. I am still hoping that I can make a quilt for Christmas - and so I plan to use the same design for all of the quilt blocks, and mix and match the various fabrics I have from the range.
    Will it be finished for this Christmas? - I have no idea, but, for the first time ever, I have the beginnings of a quilt for Christmas - I feel quite warm and cosy inside!
    That's all for now - have fun.

  • Layer cake quicky

    Thursday, 6 November, 2014

    Where has this week gone? Well I was in Dublin at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the weekend - so I think that has made the time seem to disappear. I was demonstrating the Big Shot and Bigz dies for Abakhan , and teaching a workshop using the Butterfly die - to decorate a needle case.
    So now I'm back and trying to complete the Downton Abbey quilt - my idea of completing it with a plain background just doesn't work - so I am going to have to piece together some more 'whirligigs' to make a small lap quilt - but as I've only made that decision today I can't show you the results this week - but I can let you know that you can cut 28 half hexagons from a fat quarter, with die - but you have to lay the fabric all the same way - R.S or W.S up - and do not fan fold
    Each fat quarter will make 4 complete 'whirligigs'.
    So far I have used 288 half hexagons and my top measures approx. 52" at the widest point and 42" at the narrowest - just to give you an idea of size.
    Sooooo - Downton is delayed again - and it could be a couple of weeks before I can finish it - but in the meantime I have something else to show you -
    Do you remember this from a couple of weeks ago?
    I said I would let you know  how big a quilt top I could make out of this Layer cake pack of fabrics.
    Now I'm pleased to be able to give you the answer and show the started top -
    Using this die I can make a top approx. 40"/1m square. Obviously if you use a smaller die the size you can make will be reduced.
    What can  you look forward to next week - well it won't be Downton or this small quilt - but it will be a quick make for Christmas.
    In the meantime enjoy your sewing.

  • Downton continued

    Thursday, 30 October, 2014

    Hello again, are you enjoying the cosy autumn evenings now we have turned the clocks back?
    I'm enjoying the autumn colours in the trees, and the fallen leaves - which I still enjoy kicking my way through ( even when I haven't got my grandchildren with me!!)
    Talking about colours - I received a wonderful box of  'Art Gallery' fabrics last week -
    sent to me by for a whole heap of projects - now this is a little unfair, as you won't get a glimpse of any of the projects until later in the year or even early next year - but these fabrics are so bright and beautiful to work with I just wanted to share the photo.
    Before I show you the latest progress on 'Downton' I just show you a couple of photos from the workshop I taught  yesterday at The Sewing Room in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, the shop - for Anita - you can see her in the second photo below

     We had fun making quick and easy Christmas decorations, using hearts , and stars
    Christmas decorations will feature in my blogs next month - when I hope to have finished Downton.
    So here is the next instalment -
    I finished laying out the triangles and then joined them into strips - here you see all the strips joined together - to make a large central hexagon.
    Now I really want this to be a quilt that I can snuggle up under while watching Downton Abbey - so I'm going to add a neutral fabric - maybe calico to make this into a rectangle, and then maybe add a border to create the size I want - so that will be the final instalment - and then I'll give you the fabric requirements as well.
    Meanwhile enjoy the cosy evenings and keep sewing.

  • Downton part 3

    Thursday, 23 October, 2014

    Have you enjoyed the last week?
    I've had great fun, playing with the grandchildren, shopping for a holiday later in the year and choosing some fabrics for new projects.
    But I've also had  moments of wanting to scream or just cry - why? because of my Downton quilt!!
    I had stitched lots of half hexagons into triangles but when I came to lay them out in strips somehow they didn't match!!! Even my husband couldn't see how to  make it work - so after a while of unpicking I proceeded to lay them out again - but the cautionary note to this tale is pin the half-hexagons into triangles -
    and then pin the triangles into rows -
    and as long as you're careful as you stitch them it should become quite straight forward!
    This is how far I've got -
    and this is a closer look at how the 'whirligig' looks -
    I now have a clear idea of how to complete this quilt - but it means that I need to order some background fabric -  maybe from the new 'downstairs' range in Downton fabrics!
    As usual I think it's time for a cup of tea, and then it's time to start planning for next week.
    Enjoy the weekend.


  • Downton dilema resolved

    Thursday, 16 October, 2014

    I'm home again from working at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, and what a difference a week makes - lights on, heating on, curtains closed. But then candles lit and cosy evenings with lots of lovely fabrics to piece by hand - or machine - maybe Autumn isn't so bad after all.
    On my way to the show I called in at the lovely Village Haberdashery shop - , which is a shop I've looked at on line but this was my first chance to visit - it's a small shop but it's full of beautiful fabrics - so I bought just one bundle of fat quarters, which was very restrained. It's  Fly Away by Phyllida Coroneo for Dashwood Studios, and I love the way Kona plains have been added to the bundle - it's a project for the spring - just what project I'm not sure of.

    Now back to Downton - I have decided to make the piecing easy and so have started laying out the fabrics and stitching the triangles together - I cut all my16 fat quarters ( Lady Edith and lady Sybil ) into half hexagons using die 658880  and started to lay out the 'whirligig' design -
    then I added the surrounding colours -
    then I separated the shapes out to leave me with 6 triangles to stitch -
    I then stitched the triangles together - but left the centre 1/4" unstitched -
    this is to enable stitching the other piece in (known as a Y seam) to complete the triangle -
    Repeat this until you have stitched all 6 triangles -
    After this you just keep adding triangles to complete each whirligig - this is how far I have progressed -
    When you have stitched all your triangles you can then join them into rows and then join the rows together - I'll show that next week.
    Now the question is will I finish the quilt before the end of the series?

    I enjoyed working at the show as always - meeting customers,  seeing new fabrics, new projects and I always think that I'll come away without buying anything - this time I was attracted to 'Flexi-frames'
    for closing bags - so there will be some bag projects coming up.
    Whilst working, on The Cotton Patch  stand  ( ) I decided to see what size quilt I could make out of a layer cake - so using the Big Shot and
    Bigz die 659853
    I only cut the full triangle not the half, and managed cut 6 from each 10" square

     so I now have 252 triangles to make into a quilt for the grandchildren - I'm not sure how big this will be but I'll show you next week.
    Until then - enjoy the Autumn colours and keep stitching.

  • Knitting and Stitching Show

    Friday, 10 October, 2014

     This week I'm busy demonstrating at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, on the Cotton Patch stand, which is F27 -
    I'm taking the opportunity to start making Christmas presents using the heart dies and - below are photos of 2 cushions that I'm working on 


    I'm also planning to make I-phone covers and felt Christmas decorations.
    Come along and see me - the show is open until 5 pm on Sunday - and see what I'm up to.
    If you can't make it you'll have to wait to see the projects as I feature them here on the blog in the run up to Christmas.
    I haven't had any time to work on the Downton dilemma but I hope to show some progress next week.
    I hope to meet some of you in the next few days.


  • Downton dilema

    Thursday, 2 October, 2014

     Well it's only how to put the quilt together! - there's and easy way for the piecing, which is difficult to plan, or there is a difficult way to piece which is very easy to plan - still not sure which option to take - here are the options -

     I can make each pinwheel complete and then lay them out to get a balance of colour and pattern - but the piecing will be complicated, or
    I can stitch the shapes into triangles - but as you can see from the numbering on the pieces in each triangle that it is quite complicated - so I'm off to the sewing machine to see which method I'm going to adopt - back soon.
    The decision is made - this method was quite tricky to stitch precisely although as previously discussed it's easy to plan.
     This triangle method gives me a much neater result - not so many difficult half seams - so I'm going to attempt this method and hope that I can plan it well enough.
    As I have about 20 different fabrics to work with I think this method will work.
    My next task is to cut some more half hexagons with die - and get sewing again. I'm going to cut 24 half hexagons from each fabric and see how far I get - this may just end up as a bed runner-or a single bed quilt - I'm not sure yet. I'll keep you informed as it progresses!
    Next week I'm demonstrating at Alexandra Palace at the Knitting and Stitching show. I'll be on The Cotton Patch stand, I'm not sure of the number, so if you're at the show come and say hello.
    Hope to see you next week.


  • Welcome back Downton Abbey

    Thursday, 25 September, 2014

     I'm thoroughly enjoying the beautiful blue skies and late summer sun this September, but I'm also enjoying the prospect of curling up in front of the television, watching Downton Abbey, as the Autumn evenings become shorter and cooler.
    So what better way to celebrate than to bring out my collection of Downton Abbey fabrics and begin a new quilt - sound of hands rubbing together in excitement!
    I've been trying to decide what to make with these fabrics for ages - I've kept picking them up and putting them down - and now I've decided - so here we go -
    I have a selection of Lady Edith and Lady Sybil fat quarters and have added 5 plain fabrics from the Wickerweave range from Andover fabrics - as I think all the patterns together might be a bit much'
    I've used one of my favourite dies the half- hexagon but I'm going to stitch them together to create a different shape -
     So now I have to work out how to stitch them together - by making each pinwheel - or by creating triangles which can then be stitched quickly by machine - but this will entail careful planning - so I think I'll go and make a cup of tea and then see if I can plan the lay out - it may take a while - so you'll have to wait until next week to see how I fair!!!

  • Any one for coffee?

    Thursday, 18 September, 2014

     Yes that's right - the coffee table is finished and it's time to sit back and relax - and at least in North Wales it's a lovely mild afternoon with a pale blue sky - just right to sit back and enjoy.
    To create the top I had a piece of hardboard cut to the inset size of the table. I marked a grid onto the hardboard and drilled holes for the thread for the buttons.
    I covered the hardboard with 1" foam and then covered that with grey wool fabric, smoothing it out across the foam.
    Using the Big Shot and Bigz die I cut 18 circles to use to cover buttons for the top.

    It made covering the buttons even easier - especially as I used a 'self cover button tool'
    Insert the fabric and the button top into the soft rubber holder, place the back over the button and press in with the rigid plastic tool - so easy -

    I then stitched the buttons through the foam and the hardboard - tying the threads at the back to give some tension.
    The edges of the grey fabric were laced together to hold in place.
    It's then really simple to place the top into the top of the table - and now it's an attractive unique piece of furniture.

    Now to plan some projects for Christmas!!!
    Until next week have fun.

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